Pell’s appearance postponed & Jehovah’s Witnesses rebuked

Pell’s Royal Commission appearance postponed and Jehovah’s Witnesses rebuked for inaction.

Cardinal George Pell’s much anticipated appearance in the witness box at the Child Abuse Royal Commission this month has been postponed.

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Photo: Daily Telegraph

The Royal Commission announced that illness had prevented Pell from travelling from Rome to Sydney for his scheduled appearance. Justice McClellan refused to allow Pell to give evidence via video link, so the Cardinal is now scheduled to appear before the Tribunal in February next year.

When Pell does take the stand, he is likely to be asked about reports that he berated a 14-year-old boy who reported his brother’s abuse to Pell at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1973.

The Commission also heard this month that a former Catholic Police Commissioner in Victoria buried a police investigation into a paedophile priest.

Former Mildura police officer Denis Ryan told the Commission that his efforts to investigate abuse allegations against Monsignor John Day in the 1970s were stymied by a “Catholic mafia” within the police force.

The Royal Commission issued a strong rebuke to the Jehovah’s Witnesses this month, with counsel assisting, Mr Angus Stewart SC, making 77 negative findings against the American religious cult.

The Royal Commission found Jehovah’s Witness elders had failed to report more than 1000 accusations of child sexual abuse since the 1950s, despite half of the accused confessing. The organisation has rejected every finding.

Former residents of the Parramatta Girls’ Training School in NSW are encouraged to come forward to seek justice. No court appearances will be necessary as the NSW Government seeks to compensate survivors for their appalling treatment at the institution.

If you are a ‘Parra Girl’, contact Peter Kelso – himself a former state ward – to discuss how we can help you. Call Peter during business hours on 02 4907 4200, or make a free call 1800 650 707.

About Peter Kelso


I am a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. I have been admitted to practice since 1984. I am the principal and founder of Kelso Lawyers which has operated in Newcastle since 1986.

I have been an advocate for compensation for victims of abuse since the commencement of the Victims Compensation Tribunal in New South Wales in 1988. I conduct the largest victims practice in New South Wales. I have a high level of engagement with numerous NGOs such as woman’s refuges, sexual assault services, community organisations and healing centres.

On 31 October 2012 I was a finalist for the Justice Medal, presented by the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales.


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