'When the judicial system becomes a mechanism for confirming public prejudices, justice will not be well served.'
Pell was held in prison for fourteen months, and now the Supreme Court has--unanimously--overturned the conviction. Held in prison for fourteen months without bail on the uncorroborated word of a single accuser. The investigation of Pell, in fact, began before any complaint had been made. The police admitted that.
This is a thoughtful article. Two excerpts:
Finally, Australia’s most senior judges have said what many people have been saying ever since the original conviction 13 months ago: that the thing was absurd. Judges and juries inevitably have their limitations, but this goes beyond the normal range of human error. It is not difficult, however, to see why it happened. The police, the jury, and two of the three Appeal Court judges were clearly influenced by the hysterical anti-clerical and anti-Catholic mood of most of the Australian media, and in the State of Victoria important legal safeguards had been deliberately set aside in order to facilitate the conviction of abusers.
Much remains to be done, in Australia as in other countries, to get to the bottom of clerical sexual abuse, but the collapse of the simplistic narrative of nasty conservatives and good liberals should make it easier to see what is really going on, and to see the parallels between abuse in the Church and abuse in other institutions. Revelations of the abuse of minors by revered senior people in the BBC and the Church of England over the last decade has done much, in the UK, to silence the absurd knee-jerk response to every story about abuse in the Church, that it flows from clerical celibacy. Australia will have to go through its own process in coming to terms with the ugly reality.
I want to hasten to add that I'm not a particular fan of Pell and the V2 religion that he represents.