Former President of the Victorian Bar Dr Matthew Collins says while the High Court of Australia quashed Cardinal George Pell’s convictions, the ruling does not mean the complainant was lying.
Cardinal Pell enjoyed his first night of freedom on Tuesday after his conviction for child sex abuse was overturned by the High Court of Australia.
Dr Collins said the complainant was found to be credible “at every level of Australia’s judicial system, including at the High Court”.
“The High Court had no criticism at all of the victim’s evidence, the victim was said to be a credible witness,” he said.
“The question for our courts was a different one: was Cardinal Pell’s guilt proven beyond reasonable doubt.”
Dr Collins said Tuesday’s High Court ruling left “no room for ambiguity” after the full bench of seven judges unanimously found Cardinal Pell’s conviction should be overturned.
“I think in the grand scheme of things, that’s preferable to a divided decision which would have just continued the public debate about this matter,” he said.
He said public debate proved “very confused among commentators caught up in broader questions of the sins of the Catholic Church, child sex abuse by Catholic priests and the cover up of the Church”.