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O.J. Simpson And George Pell Both Found Innocent By Courts; Jesus Not So Much!

Some idiot tweeted “He is Risen” after George had his appeal upheld by the High Court. Given the allegations against him, I thought that one of the most inappropriate tweets ever.

Of course, some people will be offended by the idea that they think I’m making a joke, but I can’t help other people’s reactions. In actual fact, I know that people rarely laugh at my jokes; they tend to laugh when I tell the absolute truth and then act shocked like I was crossing some line in order to be funny. If I was trying to make a joke I’d say something like we should henceforth call George “Vanilla”, which I find funny but only because I imagine people actually doing it.

Just for the record, satire isn’t funny. It’s savage and outrageous and going that one step too far so that people recognise the horror that passes for moderate proposals.

So I’m not making a joke when I say that both O.J. and George Pell are equally innocent. The fact is that they are in terms of the law because if one isn’t convicted of a crime one is presumed innocent.

The difference between Simpson and Pell is simple: While a jury in the USA found there was insufficient evidence to convict, a jury in Australia – according to the High Court – didn’t behave rationally because they ignored that fact that lots of people testified that his usual practice was to go outside and greet people so he couldn’t have deviated from that practice or else they would have remembered years and years later. Or something like that. I’m not a legal expert and I haven’t read the case in detail so I probably shouldn’t be commenting but I live in the hope that if I can just keep making outrageous comments on things I know nothing about then Rupert will offer me large sums of money to write for one of his papers before he realises that I’ve been writing satire… Perhaps that’s how Andrew Bolt got his job!

And so, at the risk of losing my potential job as one of Murdoch’s Minions, I’d like to add a point of rationality here and I need capitals and HEADLINES but failing that, I’m just going to do it calmly and in bold. Pell, we are told, has been proven innocent and anyone with a legal brain can tell you that’s not true. The case was dismissed by the High Court and consequently, he is entitled to the PRESUMPTION of innocence.

Ok, let’s apply the principal and I’m going for the BOLD type here.


Or is only special people who are entitled to the rights of law?


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  1. New England Cocky

    Perhaps Benito Duddo could serve out his quarantine period on Manus then transfer to Nauru to settle in a grass hut among the natives that he so enjoys.

  2. mark delmege

    ‘Or something like that. I’m not a legal expert and I haven’t read the case in detail so I probably shouldn’t be commenting’ you got that bit right at least.

  3. Rossleigh

    Thanks, Mark, can you tell me the bits I got wrong so I can correct them?

  4. corvusboreus

    Unlike, say, Andrew Bolt or Miranda Devine, whose extensive qualifications and experience in criminal law render them eminently suitable to offer public commentary on this matter (albeit for profit rather than gratis)

  5. Matters Not

    Guess it’s all about principles of convenience. Something to call on when needed or even desired.

  6. mark delmege

    You are implying that 7 high court judges are either corrupt or incompetent.
    It reminds me of the Politician who was reported to have said ‘we hear you we see you we believe you’
    Like the politician you seem to be making an emotional claim rather than one based on the evidence.
    Perhaps if you had read the case in detail you might say otherwise.

  7. Phil Pryor

    Pell is not shown as innocent at all, because a queue of faithful fools, frauds, sworn blood brothers in sin and iniquity stayed the course and never relented on organised story crime. Pell is shown as not being over the line of reasonable doubt in a case where the victim and the evidence remain safe and unchallenged and sound. That is LAW folks, and if you pay enough for appeal, you can obtain (some say buy) justice, or at least a declaration of law points in your favour. Meanwhile, perverted poxed, predatory priests operate under cover. And Abbott, Devine, Joyce, Andrews, Abetz, even Cosgrove, will cover and silence themselves and stay “loyal.” Filth…

  8. wam

    i love your jokes and your truths., rosco.
    Cardinals and judges are finger food friends and wine tasting dinner colleagues. They are feted by prime ministers and are, as your last lines indicates, these are bedecked in crimson
    The robes embody three symbolic features.
    There are seven equal tucks reflecting the
    seven components of the Federation — the
    States and the Commonwealth. There is a
    hand-woven element in the sleeve ends
    based on sand ripple patterns and a
    triangular motif suggestive of the High
    Court’s function as the final court of appeal
    for Australia. special./
    I can hear the discussion over a few bottles of grange topped off with a decanter of grahams vintage.
    Well sayeth susan we are agreed the pompous ass has suffered enough and must be released.
    mark these people are special and corrupt doesn’t figure with specials.

  9. Rossleigh

    Gee, Mark, I’ve implied no such thing…
    The High Court made no judgement about Pell’s guilt or innocence so perhaps if you’d like to acquaint yourself with the role of the High Court and get back to me when you’ve actually “read the case in detail” with your fine legal mind and education we could discuss EXACTLY what you’re suggesting I got wrong instead of trying to use rhetoric to suggest you’ve actually read things and aren’t just reacting emotionally, then we could debate it in a calm and sensible manner.

  10. mark delmege

    So you are not taking the piss and you are perfectly happy with the decision, good I’m glad we sorted that out, sorry I got confused by your style.

  11. Peter F

    @mark d; Read Louis Milligan’s “Cardinal- the rise and fall of George Pell’. You might then begin to accept Phil Pryor’s comment:”Pell is shown as not being over the line of reasonable doubt in a case where the victim and the evidence remain safe and unchallenged and sound”

    I will repeat that “…………….where the victim and the evidence remain safe and unchallenged and sound.”

    The rest is legal niceties which only money can obtain.

  12. Ken

    This pandemic is really going to show how incompetent Potato Head and ScottyFromMarketing are.

  13. Kaye Lee


    Perhaps you can point me to where I can read the case in detail since the testimony was never publicly released. Do you have inside sources?

    And if the civil cases against Pell are successful, will that mean the high court is corrupt or incompetent?

    “Reasonable doubt” does not imply, let alone equate to, innocence.

  14. Neil Hogan

    To people who say Pell is innocent you can say no he is only presumed innocent as the seven High Court judges were only unanimous in their judgement that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Pell, they did not say that he was innocent!!

  15. Kaye Lee

    Very interesting article Peter F

  16. ozfenric

    Kaye Lee, I found this, which has an awful lot of detail. It does not have the original testimony of Witness A, but does describe the content of that testimony. There is a very large amount of information available here if you have the time to read it.

    (Supreme Court of Victoria)

    If there are civil cases, they won’t be this case. This case, from my reading of the evidence, could easily fail the test of “balance of probabilities”. It should certainly never have reached “beyond reasonable doubt”.

    It should be noted that before this case came to trial and during it, Witness A made multiple, conflicting statements about the details of the allegations. His first allegations were shown to be impossible (his dates were wrong, among other details). It is very possible that the crimes he alleges took place, but it seems equally likely that the specifics (e.g. it being a Sunday after mass) are not correct. The offences are alleged to have taken place decades ago, and very few people have reliable memories over that duration. It seems likely that the version of events arrived at through this process is not the actual truth.

    Nevertheless, this is the case the prosecution brought, and all the evidence they provided contradicts the testimony of their only witness. (I note that the defence called no witnesses. They relied solely on the evidence the prosecution presented in order to make their case.)

    I think much of the hate for Pell comes from his handling of the church’s response to abuse cases. That does not make him a paedophile himself. For all I know, he is one. Until somebody brings actual evidence to the table, he remains innocent in the eyes of the law.

    Unfortunately we’ve seen that he will never be innocent in the eyes of the public, regardless of what the evidence might say.

  17. Matters Not

    As suggested elsewhere, there’s nothing fixed or unchanging when it comes to judicial decisions and/or the principles on which they rest. Mention was made of Plessy v. Ferguson which was a landmark 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision (7 to 1 from memory) which established the separate but equal doctrine which was the benchmark until overturned in 1954 by the Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board of Education (Topeka) which ruled that segregated schools are inherently unequal and they did so unanimously.

    Further it might be noted that this landmark decision (and its overturn) is not unique nor unusual. Take Roe v Wade which is an ongoing sore for the Pentecostals (and others) in the USA. The Court found that: laws that restrict a woman’s ability to have an abortion prior to viability are unconstitutional. But with a Trump appointed Supreme Court that decision is on shaky ground but the Supreme Court may resist any intervention on what might be seen as not wanting to endanger their own political credibility.

    It should be stressed that there are literally dozens and dozens of such decisions (and then some) across a broad range of areas as this link demonstrates.

    Should be remembered that laws, conventions, principles etc are man made – not handed down from on high. Not set in concrete. Who knows the Pell decision might become a land mark decision here in Australia – the straw that broke the … Perhaps another (legal) reason why Pell will be remembered.

  18. Jack Cade

    The writer of this article risks being named and shamed by Andrew Bolt, the terror of all left of extreme right thinkers, the fearless journo who wept when someone said something mildly unpleasant about him. One of Murdoch’s pack of Berkeley Hunts.

  19. Jack Cade

    Matters Not

    The essential difference between the US courts and British/Australian courts is that US judges are appointed specifically because of their perceived social – if not political –
    bias. It seems no US legal precedent is set in stone. The famous British precedents like Donoghue v Stevenson would not survive long with a partisan Senate and Congress.
    Donoghue v Stevenson was, to my shocked surprise when I studied the case, a majority, not unanimous, verdict.

  20. A Commentator

    A 7 to nil decision is pretty compelling, I think most were willing to accept the 2 to 1 decision of the Victorian Supreme Court.

    If the charge had been deliberately negligent oversight of people in his care, the outcome would have been different.

  21. Kaye Lee

    The testimony of Pell’s accuser has never been released, not in video, audio nor even redacted transcripts.

    As regards inconsistencies,

    “We saw nothing in A’s answers under cross-examination to suggest that he had been caught out or had tripped himself up. And, where his responses involved any alteration of – or addition to – what he had said previously, the changes seemed to us to be typical of what occurs when a person is questioned on successive occasions, by different people, about events from the distant past.

    “A further indication of A’s credibility, in our view, was his admitted uncertainty about a number of matters, which, if the story had been invented or was an entrenched fantasy, he might have been expected to describe with confidence.

    “The credibility of his account was considerably enhanced by the accuracy of his description of the priests’ sacristy. He was able to describe in some detail the layout and furnishing of the alcove where he and B were discovered by Cardinal Pell. As the Crown pointed out, A correctly placed the wine area in the alcove, not where it is currently located.

    “More striking still was the fact that A identified the priests’ sacristy as the setting. At all other times, Cardinal Pell would have robed – and disrobed – in the archbishop’s sacristy. Exceptionally, however, that sacristy was temporarily unavailable at the end of 1996 because its furniture was under repair. As a result, Cardinal Pell was – at the time of the alleged offending – having to use the priests’ sacristy to disrobe after mass.”

    The defence most certainly did call witnesses, notably Portelli.

    “[Portelli] did not have any independent recollection of the particular Sundays in December 1996. Although he had affirmed propositions put to him in cross-examination, he could not – unprompted – answer questions about those occasions.

    “In our view, Portelli’s evidence – taken as a whole – did not compel the jury to have a doubt about A’s evidence. On the contrary, in our view, the jury were entitled to have reservations about the reliability of Portelli’s affirmative answers under cross-examination.”

    “Portelli properly accepted the possibility that Cardinal Pell might on occasion have stayed on the cathedral steps only ‘for a short period of time before returning to the sacristy’. He also accepted that there may have been occasions on which he did not himself accompany the cardinal back to his sacristy after mass and that, even if he had escorted the cardinal back, he might not have gone into the priests’ sacristy with him.”

    They also rejected the assertion that the robes could not be moved aside by actually showing it could be done.

    It was the defence’s evidence that was found in doubt, not Witness A’s. Notably, Pell chose not to take the stand which meant the jury’s only glimpse of his reaction was his recorded 2016 interview with Australian police in Rome – no cross-examination such as his accuser was subjected to.

  22. ozfenric

    According to the full judgment, the Defence called no witnesses (item 10 in the judgement). Portelli was amongst the witnesses called by the prosecution (item 9).

    Unlike the defence, I do not argue that Witness A’s testimony was “invented”. I think it likely an incomplete and partially inaccurate recollection of events many years prior. If the dates, times and circumstances might be subject to reconsideration, is there no possibility that the persons involved are also?

    The prosecution were able to show that none of the contrary evidence made it impossible for Pell to have committed the alleged crimes. What’s amazing is that their case consisted of showing the crime was possible as described, not providing evidence that it was committed. It was possible that Pell was unaccompanied. It was possible that he didn’t stay on the steps. It was possible that the choirboys might have made their journey unnoticed. And on it goes. A combination of chance events, some of which Pell could not have known about when alleged to have encountered the boys.

    That’s not to say it didn’t happen, it just says there should have been doubt raised. The prosecution might then have addressed that doubt with their own evidence, but they evidently did not.

    The articles I linked were from the previous appeal case, which rules two to one against the appeal. Notably the third judge in that appeal submitted his own strongly dissenting judgement. The High Court has looked at the same evidence and decided 7-0 that the case against Pell was unproven, on the evidence. The defence’s evidence was not “in doubt”. It was uncontested.

    I’m not saying he didn’t do it. I’m saying there was plenty of reason to believe he did not, and not enough evidence that he did, to warrant throwing a 78-year-old man into jail.

  23. Michael Taylor

    Jack, the US Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to allow the Wisconsin’s election to go ahead proved just how stacked the Court is with Republicans.

    An unfair system.

  24. paul walter

    No, he wasn’t found innocent.

    That wasn’t the question.

    The question was, could he be found guilty on the toughest tests of evidence.

  25. paul walter

    He remains condemned on the issue of his refusal to deal adequately with cases involving other priests over decades anyway.

    Evidence which demonstrates his unfitness for that type of high office through lack of empathy/compassion, hence intelligence rightly directed.

    He is to be despised for this approach even if he was not guilty of anything else.

    What a stupid thing to say, abortion is worse than paedophilia!

    Under any circumstance?

    Doesn’t see the forest for the trees because he doesn’t and never did, want to.

  26. wam

    It seems that the high court must have a different access to the facts to that of the appeals court
    jury verdict guilty
    defence write a submission to the appeal
    verdict no legal reason for allowing the appeal
    the reason for disallowing became a learning process for a new submission
    high court appeal deciding the appeal court was wrong to disallow the appeal. and frees baden-clay oops frees pell
    I lost respect for the high court judges when they decided the constitution could allow a foreign government to declare an Australian born in Australia ineligible to sit in parliament. by patrilineal descent.

  27. Zathras

    It’s ironic that someone whose entire stock in trade is based on the supremacy of belief (faith) over evidence now uses evidence to overcome belief (the verdict of a jury).

    There’s no such thing as perfect justice but imperfect justice certainly exists.

    A while ago there was a lot of misguided noise about money from Halal certification allegedly going to fund terrorists but how much of that money going onto the plate on Sunday funds the legal defence of paedophiles?

  28. Matters Not

    Sums it up rather well.

    We’re back where we started so many years ago. Nothing has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. The Cardinal has not been proven to be innocent – or guilty. We still don’t know where the Truth lies. It has not been proven that he did not do what is alleged by the complainant. He goes free because the Crown could not prove to the satisfaction of the members of the High Court (only to the members of the jury and the majority of the three justices of the Victorian Court of Appeal) that the members of the jury were thinking straight when they decided on the evidence that they entertained no reasonable doubt and that George was guilty.

    CHRIS GERAGHTY. The Pell Decision.

  29. Mark Erwin

    Anyone charged with an offense will have to at least try the “Pell defense”. “Everyone knows that at the time the alleged incident occured i usually am talking with people and everyone knows that!”.

  30. mark delmege

    Mark E, maybe you can bend time and do in 5-6 minutes what no one else could. The evidence as presented didn’t stand up to scrutiny. Thats why it was 7 zip.

  31. Kaye Lee

    “The evidence as presented didn’t stand up to scrutiny.”

    That is completely incorrect.

    The trial judge found the complainant to be a credible witness.

    So did two Victorian Appeal Court judges. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Victorian Court of Appeal president Chris Maxwell stated: “Both the content of what [the complainant] said and the way in which he said it — including the language he used — appeared to us to be entirely authentic”.

    ….the High Court did not suggest that the witness was dishonest or unreliable.

    Rather, it is the case that in criminal proceedings the prosecution has to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt and it is difficult to reach this threshold.

    The royal commission in particular highlighted the difficulties that victims of sexual abuse have in reporting offences against them.

    The institutional obstacles they confront in having their legal claims acted upon, and the immense suffering that they experience — often lasting a lifetime.

    The High Court’s decision logically does not undermine any of these matters.

  32. ozfenric

    Kaye, it was entirely about the evidence (or lack thereof). There were no forensics, cameras, DNA traces or other objective evidence to offer. The prosecution’s evidence was all and entirely the evidence of a single witness / victim. The defence’s evidence was testimony from a number of others who indicated that the events as alleged were unlikely or impossible. As Greg Barnes puts it in his article (

    “All the High Court did was to restate the law. As the Law Council of Australia observed, “although the testimony of [Pell’s accuser] was capable of being considered truthful and reliable when taken by itself, there was other contradictory evidence before the court that was unchallenged by the Crown and which therefore also had to be considered truthful and reliable. When considered together, a reasonable doubt must have arisen as to which account was correct.””

    The prosecution evidence wasn’t enough, by itself, to countermand all the evidence that said Pell wouldn’t have had the opportunity to commit the crime. If there had been any other evidence showing Pell was, for instance, not on the steps that morning, matters would be very different. But the prosecution couldn’t even point to a specific date for the alleged offence, so that kind of evidence was going to be difficult to acquire.

    Mark Erwin, if you have a regular appointment and multiple witnesses testify that you typically attend, it would be a valid defence. It’s then up to the prosecution to show that on the specific occasion in question you didn’t attend that regular appointment. Simply accusing you of being somewhere else is not sufficient.

  33. Kaye Lee

    There was no evidence that Pell wouldn’t have had the opportunity. There was evidence about what happened most days. There was no evidence to say Pell was on the steps those days or for how long – an alibi should surely rely on he was here, not on he often was here? The prosecution nailed it down to one of two Sundays, a fact the judges said made the evidence more credible, not less. Not remembering the exact date is quite reasonable. many years later. There was evidence given that he sometimes only stayed for a few minutes.

    Pell has not been found innocent. No-one gave evidence that categorically refuted the allegations. They have found there was reasonable doubt.

  34. ozfenric

    All true. If he’d been able to prove that he didn’t have the opportunity, he wouldn’t have ended up in jail at all. The prosecution narrowed the scope of possible dates to two Sundays. Now all they needed was evidence from anyone that on one of those specific dates Pell wasn’t on the steps more than a few minutes. They couldn’t get that evidence. Now you might argue that’s a high bar – and it’s true, it’s unreasonably difficult in many cases to prove a case like this beyond reasonable doubt. But in this particular case the combination of evidence is enough to give rise to reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is what our legal system rests upon.

  35. Phil

    Oh my God the Pell saga. Where’s Sherlock Holmes when you need him? He got off because he’s connected end of. It reminds me of that old joke from the actor Robert Stack. ” The crime rate in New York has dropped so low the Mafia have had to put off three judges.

  36. ozfenric

    One could also note it’s difficult to prove you didn’t do something when every time you do point to an alibi, the prosecution pivots to another couple of dates it might have happened on. That’s why in our system we don’t have to prove we didn’t do something. It’s up to the Crown to show that we did.

  37. ozfenric

    Claiming that Pell was let off by corrupt judges – the seven most senior judges in the country, in a unanimous verdict – is perilously close to contempt of court. And if he were that well connected, why did he have to spend more than a year in jail?

  38. Kaye Lee


    “If he’d been able to prove that he didn’t have the opportunity, he wouldn’t have ended up in jail at all.”

    I agree that they could raise reasonable doubt. I understand the decision.

    Giving context to the discussion is worthwhile nevertheless.

    I await the unredacted pages from the RC.

  39. Phil

    ” Claiming that Pell was let off by corrupt judges – the seven most senior judges in the country, in a unanimous verdict – is perilously close to contempt of court. And if he were that well connected, why did he have to spend more than a year in jail?”

    Don’t put words in my mouth. This whole world is corrupt as the day is long. So let me get this right, we can wax lyrically all day about corrupt politicians, corrupt police, start wars on a tissue of lies, Make regime changes in countries where we don’t like the government and keep innocent people like Julian Assange in prison and possibly killing him the process but, miraculously the highest court in the land is beyond reproach. Of course silly me none of that is connected. Go back to sleep.

  40. mark delmege

    There is a lot that can be argued sorry discussed. Like the reasonableness of the original or reviewed charges, the nature of the first two court hearings, the juries, the prosecution and the defence or the character of the ‘victim’ and the defendant himself. And probably much more. They are all other issues. What the High Court mused upon* was (for the most part) something else.
    (non legal term)

  41. Terence Mills

    The difficulty faced by juries in circumstances such as this, where the defendant declines to give evidence or to subject himself the cross examination, is that they inevitably are deprived of hearing the defendant and assessing the probity of his evidence.

    Whilst the jury cannot draw any inference of guilt in circumstances where the defendant declines to give evidence – other that in exceptional circumstances where instructed by the judge – it is inevitable that a jury assessing the veracity of someone like Pell would be hard pressed not to feel that his silence at least implies an element of wrongdoing.

  42. Kaye Lee

    The fact that Pell immediately raced off to give an interview to Andrew Bolt shows just the type of man he is. In his rush to publicly exonerate himself, he, once again, didn’t give a rats arse how that might affect the many victims who suffered because of his actions. He should have slunk off to some monastry, never to be heard from again. But not this turkey. it’s all about George..

  43. Matters Not

    Wasn’t the emergence of new facts that changed the course of this ‘trial’. Rather it was new ‘interpretations’ generated to what was already on the table or as I prefer – the giving of new meanings even to agreed or accepted facts. Facts, while necessary, are but part of any useful ‘insight’. Facts selected, weight given, meanings attributed, order presented and the like must also be considered – as good historians know only too well.

    The cry of – just give us the facts – is always far too simplistic as it can mask complexity and nuance etc.

  44. joe

    George Pell is innocent because he was not found guilty, is that hard to understand? Remember how Lindy ( Dingo took my dog ) suffered because of a witch hunt against her. there should be a royal commission launched against the Victoria Police and the ABC. Pell should be paid damages for destroying his integrity and for being locked up.

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