Pell Again

Pell Again Geraghty Menadue

Title: Pell again

Author: Chris Geraghty

Publisher: John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations

Date: 12MAY2020

Dear George,

More bad news. When will it cease?

And this latest news has come towards the backend of your stellar career performance. You had only just escaped from your prison cell and from the indignity of a criminal record when another heavy body-blow has landed. At an advanced age, your career at the top appears to be in ruins. Where to for you from here?

“Surprised” doesn’t seem to capture the moment. I can’t help thinking you’ve often had difficulty during your long ecclesiastical career in the spotlight, striking the right note.

Disappointed – saddened – annoyed – depressed – traumatized – shocked – bloody angry – furious – wacked, crushed and gutted, perhaps ? I am wondering, George, how you really feel now that the redacted sections of the original report have been made so public. Your brief statement simply announced that you were “surprised by some of the views” of the Royal Commission and that its “views” were not supported by the evidence.

“Views”. A man in the street has views. Your mother had views. A social or political commentator expresses views. Any Tom, Dick or George can have views on any number of issues. The royal commissioners did not report their views – they made findings. The bad news is that the royal commissioners who were commissioned by Her Majesty to hear the witnesses, examine the documents, to analyse and assess the evidence have made disparaging findings about your integrity, your truthfulness, your character – albeit on the balance of probabilities.

Our system of law, whether criminal or civil, doesn’t deal in Truth or with certainties such as findings of innocence, any more than the modern sciences do. It leaves these matters to philosophy, to religion and ultimately to God. In making its orders and findings of fact, the law only strives for a comfortable state of satisfaction or contentment, and deals in probabilities and reasonable doubt –‘satisfied beyond reasonable doubt’ or ‘satisfied on the balance of probabilities’. Once the evidence had been carefully weighed, on the balance of probabilities, the commissioners found your evidence wanting.

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