Why the case against Cardinal Pell doesn’t add up

Looks like a witch hunt…one accuser…not one shred of evidence of guilt…in fact evidence points to it never happening…yet…media frenzy…public outcry…HE’S A CATHOLIC PRIEST…HE MUST BE A PEDOFILE…GUILTY


What I found particularly interesting is that in the first trial the jury was hung, 10-2 for acquittal. Then they rustled up another jury that voted 12-0 for guilty. That is a massive swing with no new evidence used in the trial and points I think towards a biased jury. Not to mention the evidence points towards the accuser being a liar more than Pell being guilty.


The writer has an obvious bias, but if what is said is true, this is a travesty.

Did the police effectively advertise for a class action lawsuit before they had a single complainant? This screams of a witch hunt.

Such abusers are serial. If their campaign only yielded one semi credible story rather than many, I would question the truth of that single incident.

There was no corroborating evidence of this single instance, just he said, he said of two people. The other complainant had died but had confessed to his mother it didn’t happen.

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It is not only a lack of corroborating evidence. But that the evidence points toward this incident not even being physically and spatially possible, let alone all the people present who saw nothing.


What I don’t understand is that, afaik, there were two trials against the Cardinal. One was dropped and this is how the result of the other was presented. Why was the second trial dropped? It really looks like all they needed was one trial won, the man to be convicted, and they settled for that. Because if the man is actually guilty of pedophilia, it sounds only moral to make justice in all cases against him because it’s a serious crime. And this is why my bet is that the first case was an emotional also, the defense just didn’t get the sympathy of the jury and that’s it. The evidences weren’t clear so the prosecution decided to not insist on the other trial and get the glory for the first case.
I am not a lawyer, this is just my 2 cents based on watching many lawyer movies.

If I am remembering correctly, the other trial was dismissed by the judge because it was even less of a case than this one.

I also read that the judge in this trial that found him guilty was genuinely surprised at the verdict of the jury and thought Cardinal Pell would be acquitted. At this point I honestly believe Pell will win his appeal. For historical context I believe another Australian Bishop was recently convinced by flimsy, contradictory evidence and had that verdict overturned on appeal as well.

The unfortunate side affect here is that if Cardinals Pell is in fact innocent, he will now be forever seen as a child molester regardless.


That would have happened even if he were found not guilty, or had two or three trials in a row end in a hung jury.
Vast numbers of the public have pretty much decided every Catholic clergyman is a sex abuser of some kind, even if not accused.
Another segment of the public have decided that any accusation by an alleged victim must absolutely be true, regardless of whether there is any evidence in support beyond the accuser telling a story with no other witness or physical evidence backing it up.


Oh I completely agree, and that is what I was trying to convey. You put it better than I did.


However, the accuser testified under oath. Cardinal Pell did not take the stand and give his side of the story under oath.

So you think the accuser is believable because he made the accusation in court, and Pell is not believable because he did not take the stand?

I am not arguing that I know for a fact that Cardinal Pell is innocent. It is possible that he did commit the crimes he has been accused of. And for the record, I despise the complicity of the any Bishop, priest, or laity who had a hand in committing, enabling, or covering up abuse in the church. I want them all rooted out, thrown out, charged, etc. But with what we know right now about the accusations against Cardinal Pell and how they were presented, it doesn’t add up to me and it stinks like a false accusation and a biased jury. And false accusations DO happen, and juries DO make bad decisions, more frequently than we like to admit.

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Yes. I think when a person takes an oath to Almighty God and presents his testimony under solemn oath, that he is more credible than when a person refuses to testify under oath. By testifying under solemn oath to Almighty God, the witness has taken a step which increases his credibility. By refusing to testify under oath, questions can be raised as to why he would do so. Why does he not want to give his side of the story under oath, as the accuser has done?

I think that is a bit naive, but I understand why you feel that way. In this last year alone I have seen far too many people make false accusations under oath to think that has any bearing on what one says. IMO it is just a legal tool to be able to prosecute provably false statements at a later time. :slight_smile:

Seeing as the trial has been under a gag order for a year, we don’t know why Cardinal Pell did not take the stand personally. I am not a lawyer but I’m sure one here could tell you why this might be a strategy one would use in a trial. I think assuming Pell is hiding something because me didn’t take the stand goes a bit far, considering the evidence that was presented.


Not a lawyer but there are very sound reasons defense counsel often does not put the defendant on the stand.

  1. The burden of proof rests with prosecutors, they don’t need to prove anything.
  2. The right against self-incrimination (see next)
  3. Cross-examination is brutal and can go in many unexpected directions that may affect jury sympathy.
  4. Other witnesses can testify.

It may not be the right strategy, but is frequently used even by the innocent. It’s not as if there aren’t already sworn statements by the defendant (under God) that are presented as evidence.

I watched a good youtube video on instruction to a law class. The Prof detailed why one should never talk to the police without a lawyer present, especially when they are innocent. A policeman confirms the advice that we all should take this course of action.


Excellent article. I always enjoy George Weigel’s work.

I always liked Cardinal Pell too. So I would be more than happy to see him acquitted if the panel of judges rules that the jury could not have based their conclusion on the evidence.

However, winning on appeal won’t fix the credibility problem faced by Catholic clergy. I still think the only thing that will work is a reformation of the priesthood.

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Cardinal Pell knows the gravity of lying under solemn oath to Almighty God. It is a mortal sin. Therefore, his testimony under oath would increase his credibility.

I’d say Priests and Bishops who had inappropriate sexual relations knew that was wrong too, but that didn’t stop them.

You give to much credence to this oath on the stand? Most trials have two parties wearing oaths, then categorically denying each other’s testimony.

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But if one is a distinguished Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church? I would expect him to take his solemn oath to Almighty God seriously, and give truthful testimony while under oath.

So would I. Still doesn’t mean that is the smart legal move. He isn’t trying to convince you. He is heeding the advice of lawyers with years of experience. Whether that was the right call here I cannot say


IMHO, smart legal maneuvers are not what is important here. I believe it is seriously wrong for a man to rape or sexually molest a teenager and as well it is important for a jury to accurately determine if the accusation is true or false.

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