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Byron Shire
June 27, 2022

The matter of Pell

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On the two occasions I appeared before the High Court I didn’t bother with lawyers: I represented myself. On both occasions there were many other appellants and on both occasions there were only two judges present – which is normal for the majority of High Court cases.

So of course I have been wondering how George Pell managed to obtain all seven judges of that particular court to hear his grievances. He himself has emphasised that it wasn’t the Catholic Church which was on trial, just him as an individual. Indeed the reputation of the church was in tatters already.

The other strange thing is that in this age of individuality, where seven people in one room normally couldn’t even agree on the time of day, their Honours were unanimous in their decision. Just as well I’m not a conspiracy theorist, eh, or I’d suspect that the conservatives have stacked the bench, as in the good old US of A. But that would never happen here.

A couple of decades ago Patrick Stevedores took on the wharfies’ union. Their Honours in those days were more diverse and actually had personalities; three judges gave one set of reasons for their opinion, three judges another set and the remaining right-winger offered yet another perspective. I suppose you could say that the current crop are more ‘disciplined’.

The judiciary go out of their way to project an image of themselves as above and beyond partisan interests, but my experiences in the Local, District, Land and Environment, Supreme, and High Courts have convinced me otherwise; they are just human beings with all the normal foibles.

Let me point out that all judges were once lawyers who practised in the marketplace, with all that that entails.

I rest my case.

One last speculation. Mr Pell would have racked up a couple of million dollars in legal expenses by now, probably more. Who’s paying?

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  1. Someone’s paid The Ferry-man & got Pell to
    the other side. Last Weekend’s ‘Australian’
    April 11-12 news-paper said it all.


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