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Thread: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

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    Commissar Caligula_'s Avatar The Ecstasy of Potatoes
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    Default Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Here's a brief recap of the facts so we're all on the same page.

    Cardinal George Pell was the third highest ranking Catholic in the world, and then he was charged with child sexual abuse in two seperate cases.
    These are colloquially the priest's sacristy case, and the Ballarat swimmer's case. As these cases involved child sex abuse, and were very similar, a lot of the proceedings were conducted in closed court and there were numerous suppression orders.

    The original trial for the priest's sacristy case resulted in a hung jury (up to 10 jurors voted against him, and 2 for him). Subsequently the case had to go again and have a retrial (which resulted in him being found guilty).

    However, the Ballarat swimmer's case was going to trial and thus the Court ordered a very widespread suppression order to prevent the media from reporting on the outcome of the priest's sacristy case. In addition, there was geoblocking on Australia on anything to do with the Pell case, so Australians could not even find out about it from overseas sites unless they looked hard. These reasons for the suppression orders were to protect Pell from unfair prejudice that may arise if the jurors in the swimmer's trial knew he was guilty of one offence, AND to ensure that the Crown would be able to prosecute the case fully, without worrying that the defence could argue that there was unfair media reporting or stuff like that. The prosecution were the ones who applied for the suppression order.

    However, shortly after Pell was found guilty for the priest's sacristy case, various Australian newspapers had headlines that hinted that something very big had gone down, but they were forbidden to talk about it. This resulted in the Crown taking criminal proceedings against 36 newspapers, editors and journalists for breaching the suppression order.

    34 of the 36 journalists/newspapers were said to have "had a tendency to interfere with the due administration of justice in the prosecution of Pell" and of having "aided and abetted the overseas media's contempt".
    16 of them were also accused of having "scandalis[ed] the court" in publications that were critical of the court.



    Eventually the second trial was dropped, and so were the suppression orders. Thus Pell was sentenced in open court, and news crews were allowed in court to film it, and he received 6 years in jail, with a non-parole period of 3 years and 8 months.


    So we finally come to the crux of the matter. What are your thoughts on these suppression orders, and on the charges being laid against journalists for hinting at Pell having been found guilty?
    Were the suppression orders justified to ensure Pell got a fair trial, and that the prosecution's case didn't go to waste because the jury were obviously biased against him, or is any infringement on free speech whatsoever evil?


    Extra info thats not important to this debate
    If you're still with me, Pell has appealed that sentence on 3 grounds (as I understand them)
    1 - It was not reasonably open to the jury, on the evidence, to convict Pell
    2 - The trial was not legally started properly because Pell was not arraigned (asked whether he plead guilty or not) in front of the jury - the jury were in a different room and it was over a video link
    3 - The Chief Judge made a mistake when he excluded a certain piece of evidence from being used (an animation showing roughly where everybody in the church was at the time of the offending)

    That was a few months ago, and now in approximately 23 hours at 9:30am on Wednesday 21st August (Melbourne time), the Court of Appeal will hand down its decision on whether his appeal will succeed or not. This will be livestreamed here. https://www.streaming.scvwebcast1.co...-21-august-19/
    Last edited by Commissar Caligula_; August 19, 2019 at 08:00 PM.




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    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    The usual suspects will tell us that contempt of court is a heinous crime I imagine...
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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    As in contempt of court shouldn't be a crime, or it is a serious matter?




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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    I don’t think reporting on a case should be illegal, that’s what I meant. Is that what contempt of court is? It will just be interesting to see whether people day the same things they did last time freedom of speech around trials was discussed.

    I think the approach America takes is best, where you can report on trials all day long but Juries are sequestered.

    I was surprised News Crews were allowed into the court. In the UK bringing so much as a camera phone into a court can land you a sentence.

    The geoblocking bit is quite sinister. What is this, Communist China? Turkey even?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    The trick is to never be honest. That's what this social phenomenon is engineering: publicly conform, or else.

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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aexodus View Post
    The usual suspects will tell us that contempt of court is a heinous crime I imagine...
    Look if you understand the Australian Justice system feel free to comment. Its not perfect but in this case its been followed to the letter.

    The prosecution applied for the suppression order so the jury could consider the case uninfluenced by jabbering journalists (who in my experience, and the experience of my family, are 90-90% stupid dishonest scum incapable of honestly reporting on a case if they tried, and usually they don't try).

    The grounds for appeal rests on this concrete point: lawyers know better than The People. This is absolutely true, lawyers have turned the law into an intricate game with unbelievably complex rules to the point that jurors (actually judges, Juror derives from the word Judex which is Latin for Judge) are never allowed to judge a case without a crown appointed judge (a lawyer) to guide them.

    Pell has been convicted in this case because the jury believed the survivor, and in all likelihood because he played such a prominent role in protecting rapist priests for decades, and silencing the victims.

    I think its likely the appellate judges will agree "we lawyers know better than the hoi polloi" and acquit Pell (the decision will be suppressed so he can flee the country and near certain lynching). There's a reasonable chance St Patrick's Cathedral will be burned if that happens.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Commissar Caligula_'s Avatar The Ecstasy of Potatoes
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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    The news crews were only allowed to point the camera at the judge the entire time, eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BBppZNrjeY
    The shots on the side at 42:30 are of people who were outside the court, I think a big projector was hooked up so people could watch it on the sidewalk.

    Also, how are you going to sequester a jury if the trial hasn't started yet? If everyone in Australia knows that Pell has been found guilty once, he's not going to get a fair trial. We've had experience with that kinda stuff before in Australia, eg the Lindy Chamberlain case (dingo got my baby) was 100% a trial by media.

    Regarding the appeal result, it won't be suppressed since its being livestreamed and its in an open court tomorrow morning.




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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Look if you understand the Australian Justice system feel free to comment
    I’ll comment on any country’s justice system actually.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    The trick is to never be honest. That's what this social phenomenon is engineering: publicly conform, or else.

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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aexodus View Post
    I’ll comment on any country’s justice system actually.
    Look I shoot my mouth off ignorantly all the time, so feel free. Do your "usual suspects" have names or are you just offgassing?

    In terms of this case, in this jurisdiction under these laws and legal praxis there's a very good reason for a blanket media ban. As I say our system is not perfect but its one of the better ones despite being descended from the rather rotten Freemason infested edifice of British law.

    This is an actual case, and an actual rape victim accusing an actual cardinal. The prosecutors want to see justice done, so does the defence, this is the process.

    OP has given a sensible outline of the case and the issues, its an interesting point to discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar Caligula_ View Post
    The news crews were only allowed to point the camera at the judge the entire time, eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BBppZNrjeY
    The shots on the side at 42:30 are of people who were outside the court, I think a big projector was hooked up so people could watch it on the sidewalk.

    Also, how are you going to sequester a jury if the trial hasn't started yet? If everyone in Australia knows that Pell has been found guilty once, he's not going to get a fair trial. We've had experience with that kinda stuff before in Australia, eg the Lindy Chamberlain case (dingo got my baby) was 100% a trial by media.

    Regarding the appeal result, it won't be suppressed since its being livestreamed and its in an open court tomorrow morning.
    Good to know, this is a very thoughtful and relevant thread on a hot topic here. Regarding sequestered juries they wait a few months and ask potential jurors if they have made up their minds about the issue, its not perfect as I say but they can get a "reasonable" (legally defined) fair trial.

    The Chamberlain trial is very relevant as to why we have suppression orders, the media ripped her to shreds and circulated lies about details such as the meaning of her baby's name (she was called Azariah meaning "God helps" but they said it meant "sacrifice"). Not sure if reforms directly followed that but they certainly address those issues.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Either a nation has the rule of law or it doesn't.

    Had the papers been allowed to print the story the defence could claim a tainted jury and the bastard had a good chance of appealing the sentence. I'm quite happy with these cases being tried in a media black-out, in all cases the media are more than free to print what they want after the trial is over.

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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Here's a good article on the legal side of Pell's appeal. It isn't focused on the suppression orders.
    https://insidestory.org.au/pells-judges/




  11. #11

    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    It is fair to point out that media black out is great for criminals to get away with lighter sentences for harder crimes (as we see happening with pedo immigrants and now pedo priests as well). Such approach isn't taken in US, but we don't really see any negative results from that. It seems media black out in UK is to prevent public outrage from unfair court rulings be it unreasonable harsh or light punishment, or an unfair ruling in general. Which is why we see cases of journalists like Tommy Robinson, who pretty much sacrificed their freedom to make sure public is aware of what is happening with immigrant groomers trial.

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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heathen Hammer View Post
    It is fair to point out that media black out is great for criminals to get away with lighter sentences for harder crimes (as we see happening with pedo immigrants and now pedo priests as well). Such approach isn't taken in US, but we don't really see any negative results from that. It seems media black out in UK is to prevent public outrage from unfair court rulings be it unreasonable harsh or light punishment, or an unfair ruling in general. Which is why we see cases of journalists like Tommy Robinson, who pretty much sacrificed their freedom to make sure public is aware of what is happening with immigrant groomers trial.
    You know this is about Australia right? Your obsession with the UK is cute and amusing, I'm sorry we can't be like America and let our children die in school shootings.

    Show me on the dolly where the bad Brit touched you.........

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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Caligula, I'd say media suppression orders makes sense when you have a jury system which people rely on. The purpose, which you too outlined in the opening post, is pretty straight forward and makes sense.

    The question however in my opinion is whether or not jury systems make sense at all. Can't say I have much legal experience in my countries, but I'm pretty sure they don't have that.

    Obviously a jury would be useful in an authoritarian state where the justice system is no longer independent, but even then they'd probably manipulate the jury selection in a way that would serve them.

    What I'm getting at is that I don't get what juries are actually good for.
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    Morticia Iunia Bruti's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Tommyboy Fraudison is a professional criminal, no freedom fighter.

    A jury shall prevent secret sentence and secure a fair trial.

    In Germany we have no jury, but two Citizens, who decide as full judges.with the professional judges.
    Last edited by Morticia Iunia Bruti; August 20, 2019 at 08:00 AM.
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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Pell lost his appeal. 2 of the 3 judges dismissed the first appeal ground (that it was not reasonably open to the jury, on the evidence, to convict Pell) whilst all 3 dismissed the other two grounds (trial wasn't started properly, and the piece of evidence shouldn't have been excluded).




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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    ...
    What I'm getting at is that I don't get what juries are actually good for.
    This is the the heart of the question.

    Juries are a way of making members of the community feel responsible for the decisions of the legal system.

    In simple societies the community might make a decision about an act of violence and the community would enforce it. Jury service gives members of a modern society a feeling they are "doing justice" in a similar way. Its also a test for the rulers, if a court case plays out and the legal system makes a decision the jury hates (eg the judge leans over and says to the jury "I'm going to set aside your decision and let this rapist go") then is a sign the laws need to change because ordinary people don't like them.

    The legal system in my country is not really about justice, its about keeping the peace. The appearance of justice and the appearance of participation in justice is an important part in keeping the peace. People are more likely to let the courts take care of things instead of making decisions for themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar Caligula_ View Post
    Pell lost his appeal. 2 of the 3 judges dismissed the first appeal ground (that it was not reasonably open to the jury, on the evidence, to convict Pell) whilst all 3 dismissed the other two grounds (trial wasn't started properly, and the piece of evidence shouldn't have been excluded).
    Very glad I was wrong about this, I had though the jury went a bit rogue in the guilty case. Maybe our justice system does deliver actual justice: certainly this will help keep the peace as the church has a long history o getting away with rape and murder (eg the Maria James case).

    Rapist scum goes to gaol!
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Commissar Caligula_'s Avatar The Ecstasy of Potatoes
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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    If anyone is still interested, the results of Pell's appeal to the High Court will be announced on Tuesday at 10am AEST (in approx 25 and a half hours).




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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    What's the over-under on his sentencing?

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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    George Pell: Court quashes cardinal's sexual abuse convictions - BBC News

    Cardinal George Pell will be freed from jail after Australia's highest court overturned his convictions for child sexual abuse.

    A full bench of seven judges ruled unanimously in Cardinal Pell's favour, finding that the jury had not properly considered all the evidence presented at trial.

    "The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant's guilt," said the court in its judgement.
    Interesting development. While all sexual abusers should obviously be burned alive, the desire for justice has to go hand in hand with upholding the burden of proof. If there really is a significant possibility that Pell is innocent, then I guess letting him go makes sense. It's probably better to let one guilty person walk free than to punish an innocent person, especially since Pell is pushing 80 and has already spent a year in jail.
    Last edited by Prodromos; April 06, 2020 at 08:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Cardinal George Pell - Justice vs Free Speech?

    I'd agree with Podromos, if the perp was an average guy. But him being a high-ranking member of one of the richest religious organizations on the planet (with century-long history of covering up that kind of thing), I feel like there was likely more to it then just failure to uphold the burden of proof. I mean people like Prince Andrew or famous Hollywood rapists/pedos get to remain free for a reason.

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