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Suffer the perpetrator: Pell and the twisted inversion of victimhood

3 23 0
23.08.2019

Justice has been served. Or has it?

The saga of George Pell is not yet over. The Victorian Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the cardinal's conviction for child sex abuse may yet reach the High Court. We will find out soon enough.

Our response to the case has revealed much about us as Australians. For all our national myth-making about egalitarianism, it's clear that power still goes a long way in this place. The powerful will always have their friends, who will always defend them. No matter what their crime.

Pell leaving court on Wednesday morning.Credit:Jason South

Back in March, Pell was sentenced to a minimum of three years and eight months' jail for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in 1996, while he was archbishop of Melbourne. The reaction of his supporters was extraordinary enough. Prominent Catholics, two former prime ministers, and the usual army of right-wing commentators launched defences of Pell, as well as attacks on a Victorian County Court jury's unanimous finding of Pell's guilt. There were charges that Pell had been claimed by trumped-up charges, and by a campaign of vilification.

Conservatives are supposed to be champions of the rule of law. Not this time.

There was more of the same this week. More incredulity, with even greater despair. When the Court of Appeal's decision........

© The Age