The Northern Territory news Mon 16 Mar 2020
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News Corp Australia
MONDAY MARCH 16 2020 OPINION 15 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA more than five to six minutes? I take it the answer to my question is no? Judd also suggested the quiet time started later which would give Pell more time to get to the sacristy. Maybe it started not when the procession left the Cathedral, but when the altar boys got back to the sacristy: The Crown position was always that it occurred after the altar boys had bowed to the crucifix [in the sacristy]. Justice Patrick Keane reminded Judd that evidence at the trial was different the quiet time started as the procession left the Cathedral: The evidence is of people coming up, to have their private time, as the others are leaving the cathedral. Judd also suggested that maybe the rapes didnt last that long: I mean, it was conceded [during Pells trial], that it was five to six minutes but [it was] barely this and barely that. But Justice Geoffrey Nettle again reminded Judd of the evidence: It did, even on the complainants own evidence, amount to about five to six minutes. Judd also tried to explain where the altar servers had gone during the five or six minutes during which Pell was allegedly raping the boys in the sacristy given that they used the same room to store the crucifix theyd carried in the procession and then the sacred vessels they tidied from the sanctuary. Judd suggested the servers had gone off to get changed before then clearing away the vessels in their civilian clothes: There was evidence that they went to what they called the worker sacristy to unrobe. But Pells barrister pointed out that Judds theory of the altar servers leaving the sacristy for those critical five or six minutes to get changed had been dropped by prosecutors at Pells trial, after admitting there was no evidence to back it up. So why was that theory being trotted out again? I suspect its because even Victorias Director of Public Prosecutions believes Pell may not have committed the rapes at the time that was alleged. The facts dont fit. Now lets see if the High Court thinks so, too. We could know as soon as this week. Prosecution backtracking on details regarding rapes because times problematic CARDINAL George Pells defenders suddenly dare to hope the High Court will say hes innocent the jailed victim of a scandalous miscarriage of justice. Their hopes soared last Thursday, after Kerri Judd QC tried to tell the High Court why Pell really did rape two boys right after Mass. Judd tried her best, but the headlines for Victorias Director of Public Prosecutions after the courts seven judges had finished with her were terrible. Judges grill prosecutor over Pell conviction, said one. Prosecution shifts ground on vital minutes, said another. No one should accuse Judd of incompetence. I suspect shes a conscientious lawyer who had to wrestle with an awkward reality: Pell could not have raped those boys when the prosecution had claimed he did. Thats why Judd seemed to be backtracking: maybe the rapes didnt take as long as first said. Maybe they started much later. See, here is her problem one I argued here last year, after Victorias Court of Appeal shockingly dismissed Pells appeal in a split decision. The prosecution back then said Pell raped those boys for at least five minutes in the sacristy at the back of his Cathedral, and during the five or six minutes of private quiet time for public prayer right after Mass, before altar servers cleared away the sacred vessels used in the Mass and stored them in that same sacristy. Yet during those five or six minutes, Pell was actually outside the front of the Cathedral talking to parishioners, and for at least 10 minutes, according to unchallenged witnesses. Whats more, his sole accuser told the jury he himself was outside the Cathedral straight after Mass, on the long walk back towards the choir room in a procession with the rest of his choir. Judd tried several ways to explain to the High Court how the rapes could still have happened when neither the rapist or his victims seemed at the scene of the crime at the alleged time. For a start, she suggested that maybe the quiet time before the servers brought the sacred vessels to the sacristy where Pell was supposedly raping the boys for at least five minutes was longer than that five or six minutes: They are approximate times. The Chief Justice replied: Was it put to any witness that it could be Facts on Pell verdict just dont add up ANDREW BOLT High court judges grilled the prosecution over the George Pell case Picture: AAP IMAGE/JAMES ROSS Crack down to contain virus THE Australians who ransacked our supermarkets for canned food and yes toilet paper might be the smart ones, after all. Yes, Australia has had only 256 cases of coronavirus. But thats exactly why we should buy in food and ban a lot more travel and gatherings. Thats because even with so few cases were already running out of protective equipment and testing kits, forcing the Chief Medical Officer to beg doctors to start rationing. Meanwhile, the number of new cases jumped nearly 20 per cent on Saturday. It seems Australia is seeing almost the exponential growth that overwhelmed Italy. Think: three weeks of 20 per cent more cases every day brings us hypothetically to nearly 10,000 cases. Even at a mortality rate of just 1 per cent, thats 100 Australians killed, with the flu season still to come. It could be even worse. Were already running short of protective equipment and testing kits for doctors. What will we be running out of in three weeks? In a month? Will it be the intensive care beds and the intubation machines we use to keep the very sick alive? Some people will com plain Im being alarmist. Doesnt Australias death toll so far just three elderly people show the virus isnt as deadly as claimed? Havent we slowed the spread better than most? But we have the same virus thats hitting other countries, and theres no reason to think it could not hurt us the same way. In most European countries the spread also started slowly but then exploded. Just three weeks ago, just seven Italians had died from the coronavirus; now its more than 1400. Yes, countries can get the spread under control. Check out China (if its figures can be trusted). Its now recording day after day of fewer than 20 new cases. But see also what China had to do for that success: bans on travelling, bans on working, compulsory detention of the sick, cities in lockdown. See what some other countries are now doing: bans on non-essential shopping and bans on non-citizens crossing the border. Yet in Australia we saw three people on the weekend test positive for a virus theyd been free to fly in from overseas. We can crack down hard today or crack down hard later to stop a lot of people dying. Today is easier. I SUSPECT ITS BECAUSE EVEN VICTORIAS DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS BELIEVES PELL MAY NOT HAVE COMMITTED THE RAPES AT THE TIME THAT WAS ALLEGED. NOW LETS SEE IF THE HIGH COURT THINKS SO, TOO. WE COULD KNOW AS SOON AS THIS WEEK -NEWS, ''