George Pell Uncomfortable Question
Throughout the unprecedented three-year saga of the arrest, conviction and ultimate acquittal of Australian Cardinal George Pell, there was no dearth of commentary on the case. Almost every single word of it was grossly uninformed.Due to the judge’s strict suppression order — put in place by agreement of both prosecution and defense to protect the cardinal’s chances of being judged fairly — only the small group of people actually in the courtroom for the original 2018 proceedings really knew the full range of the facts.
And although some of the major details of the case came to light with the lifting of the order in February 2019, most of the drama has remained buried in undigested reams of court transcripts.
Now, for the first time, one of the only about eight journalists who was present to follow the blow-by-blow of the August-September 2018 mistrial and November-December 2018 retrial (and initial conviction) of Pell has published an exhaustive account of her experience.
Melissa Davey, Guardian Australia’s Melbourne bureau chief, spent hour after hour and day after day in the back of courtroom 4.3 of the southeastern state of Victoria’s County Court. Her resulting volume, The Case of George Pell: Reckoning with Child Sexual Abuse by Clergy, is an invaluable resource.