Sunday, March 3, 2019

I read the news today, oh boy . . .


Richter, Pell and Kidd:

George Pell’s barrister, Robert Richter QC, has publicly apologised for the words he used in a plea hearing in respect of Cardinal George Pell.  It is unknown whether he has apologised to Pell. 

“. . . no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not actively participating.” 
- Robert Richter, SC, 
in a plea hearing after Cardinal George Pell 
found guilty of child sexual abuse. 

“After spending a sleepless night reflecting upon the terrible choice of a phrase I used in court during the course of a long and stressful process, I offer my sincerest apologies to all who were hurt or offended by it. I apologise profusely to all who interpreted it in a way it was never intended: it was in no way meant to belittle or minimise the suffering and hurt of victims of sex abuse, and in retrospect, I can see why it caused great offence to many." 
- Robert Richter, 
apologising for his choice of words 
after a public backlash 

Some other quotes: 

"From what I've been told the allegations involve vile and disgusting conduct contrary to everything I hold dear. What a load of absolute and disgraceful rubbish, completely false, madness." 
- Cardinal George Pell,
Rome, 2016, recorded interview with Australian Police 
in respectof allegations of historical child sexual abuse. 
 Pell elected not to give evidence in the trial, as was his right, 
on advice from his legal team. 
 The interview was tendered instead. 

“No force greater than was required to achieve penetration. There were no physical injuries, no ejaculation, no recording of the offences and he did not commit them while on bail or parole.” 
- Robert Richter,
 on behalf fPell in the plea hearing. 

“So what if he wasn’t on bail or parole. If he was on bail or parole he wouldn’t be the Archbishop of Melbourne.” 
- Judge Kidd,
 to Robert Richter 

“From where I am sitting the Catholic church is not on trial and I am not imposing a sentence on the Catholic church. I am imposing a sentence on Cardinal Pell for what he did.” 
- Judge Kidd,
responding to Robert Richter’s request 
that his client not be punished 
for the sins of the Catholic church. 

“I want to make it plain I see this as a serious example of this level of offending, I see this as callous, brazen offending. Blatant. I think it did involve breach of trust, he did have in his mind some sense of impunity, how else did he think he was going to get away with this exploiting of two vulnerable boys. And there was an element of force here.” 
- Judge Kidd, 
responding to Robert Richter 

“I'm not near [considering this] low-end offending, I'm not even near it in my mind." 
- Judge Kidd,
responding to Robert Richter. 

"An assault on counsel like Mr Richter is an assault on the court and if anybody is caught doing that … I would view that as raising a really serious example of contempt and I would want to see that person prosecuted. This is not a game. The system requires defence counsel to defend people."
- Judge Kidd,
admonishing the public after Robert Richter 
jostled by a hostile crowd when leaving the court 
at the luncheon adjournment. 

"[Is it] hard defending a rodent?” 
- Member of the public,
 to Robert Richter after Richter 
left the court for the day. 

"No harder than it would be defending you.” 
- Robert Richter,
in response.

Robert Richter, QC

Cardinal George Pell

Judge Peter Kidd.

Sources: various news outlets 

Sentencing is on 13 March 2019. 

* * * * *
BTW #1: 

Judge Kidd:

Peter Barrington Kidd (born 4 October 1965) is an Australian jurist. He has served as Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria since 8 September 2015, and as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria since 24 May 2016.

Kidd holds a Masters of Laws from the University of Geneva, where he specialised in international humanitarian and criminal law, and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide.

Kidd was admitted to practice in 1990, and signed the Victoria Bar Roll in 1995.

Between 2005 and 2008, Kidd worked as an International Prosecutor at the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which investigated and tried war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s.

Kidd joined Victoria’s Crown Prosecutors' Chambers in January 2009 after returning to Australia, and in November 2011 he was appointed Senior Counsel. In July 2013 he was appointed a Senior Crown Prosecutor.

* * * * *
BTW #2:

Robert Richter:

Robert Richter QC is an Australian barrister, based in Melbourne, who has handled of a number of high-profile cases including defendants unpopular in public opinion. He is an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University. He is a critic of human rights violations and advocates for the rule of law.

Richter was born in Kyrgyzstan (part of the former Soviet Union) c 1946, and his family arrived in Australia in 1959. Along with the rest of his family, the 13-year-old Richter arrived in Australia with little or no English. It has been reported that he taught himself English with the aid of television programs and dictionaries. 

He was admitted to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws in the late 1960s. He was called to the bar on 5 August 1971 and was appointed a silk on 26 November 1985. 

Notable cases: 

acted for surgeon Dr Ian McGoldrick who was indicted on 11 charges of procuring abortions contrary to the then sections 64 to 66 of the Victorian Crimes Act 1958. The case was dismissed at committal hearings, the presiding Justice following Justice Menhennitt's reasoning in 1969 matter of R v Davidson [1969] VR 667 at 670.
successfully defended Victorian Police officer Cliff Lockwood in the Supreme Court of Victoria against charges that Lockwood allegedly murdered Walsh Street police shootings suspect Gary Abdallah in 1989.
successfully defended John Elliott against charges that he allegedly illegally moved A$ 66.5 million from Elders IXL, to "Equiticorp Tasman Ltd", a shelf company Elliot was alleged to control.
led the defence for now convicted "Hoddle Street Massacre" perpetrator Julian Knight. Richter continues to represent Knight during his parole hearings on a pro-bono basis.
acted for Ray Williams in the HIH Insurance Royal Commission and the inter-related court cases.
successfully defended Melbourne underworld crime figure Mick Gatto against the charge of murdering suspected underworld hitman Andrew Veniamin.
successfully defended Labor Minister, Theo Theophanous over rape charges. In the same year, Richter represented a high school teacher who pleaded guilty to committing sexual acts against a teenage girl. During the sentencing appeal, Richter argued that the victim was a "drama queen". The appeal was successful, with Richter's client being freed.
represented one of the conspirators behind the 2015 Anzac Day Terror Plot, with the conspirator sentenced to 7 years imprisonment, for a crime that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Richter argued that his client's "rehabilitation is in the public interest".

* * * * *
BTW #3:

Cardinal George Pell:

George Pell AC (born 8 June 1941) is an Australian prelate of the Catholic Church and the church's most senior official to be convicted of child sexual abuse. He served as the inaugural Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy between 2014 and 2019; and was a member of the Council of Cardinal Advisers between 2013 and 2018. He previously served as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney (2001–2014), the seventh Archbishop of Melbourne (1996–2001), and Auxiliary bishop of Melbourne (1987–1996). He was created a cardinal in 2003. Ordained in 1966, he has also been an author, columnist, and public speaker. Since becoming Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, he has maintained a high public profile on a wide range of issues, while retaining a strict adherence to Catholic orthodoxy on most matters. However, his views on the environment, and global warming in particular, are inconsistent with established Catholic teachings.

Pell first studied in Rome and Oxford and later at Monash University in Melbourne. He has been a visiting lecturer at Oxford and Cambridge. He worked as a priest in regional Victoria and in Melbourne and has since worked widely in education, seminaries and the charity sector, chairing the aid organisation Caritas Australia from 1988 to 1997. He has written widely on religious subjects, authoring several books and writing a weekly column in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph. He was appointed as a delegate to the Australian Constitutional Convention in 1998, received the Centenary Medal from the Australian government in 2003, and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2005.

Upon becoming Archbishop of Melbourne, Pell set up the "Melbourne Response" diocesan protocol to investigate and deal with complaints of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The protocol was the first of its kind in the world, but has been subject to a variety of criticisms. Pell himself used the platforms to both condemn past failings of his Church and to defend his own efforts to combat child abuse in the church and care for victims.

In June 2017, Pell was charged in Victoria with multiple historical sexual assault offences; he denied all charges. The most serious charges were thrown out for "fundamental defects in evidence" and credibility issues over witnesses, but Pell was committed to stand trial on the lesser charges, pleading not guilty. Due to the charges raised against him, Pope Francis removed Pell from the Council of Cardinal Advisers on 16 August 2018. On 11 December 2018, Pell was found guilty on five charges related to sexual misconduct involving two boys in the 1990s.  Pell's bail has been revoked and he is held in custody, with his sentencing scheduled for 13 March 2019. Pell has lodged an appeal against his conviction on three grounds, including a claim that the jury verdict was unreasonable. In February 2019, it was announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was initiating its own investigation of the charges against Pell, which could lead to Pell being defrocked.

Sources for bios: wikiepdia

E-cigs a no-no: 

E-cigarettes are not safe for your lungs, researchers have declared on the back of another worrying study into vaping. Scientists found vapers are nearly twice as likely to suffer wheezing and difficulty breathing than those who do not smoke or use e-cigs. These symptoms occur when the airways become inflamed and narrow, which can lead to COPD, acid reflux, heart failure and even lung cancer. While e-cigarettes are generally thought to be less harmful than cigarettes, studies have linked their use to heart disease and cancer. 

Daily Mail 


That's showing them:

A man who set himself on fire in protest over having to wait in line at a bank has been jailed for 11 years for the bizarre arson attack. Nur Islam, 24, poured petrol on himself and the floor of the Commonwealth Bank in Springvale in Melbourne's south-east, before setting it on fire because he was unhappy with the wait time to withdraw money. Islam originally faced 108 charges for the November 2016 arson attack, but successful negotiation by his lawyer saw 97 of these dropped. 

Four people were injured in the stunt and Islam himself received long-term injuries from his burns. The court was told the bank was destroyed, causing $2.5 million worth of damage, rounded up to $3 million including GST. 

It is alleged the 'unlawful non-citizen' from Myanmar had intended to withdraw the balance of his account - $442 - but became angry at the length of time he had to wait. Police claim he walked to a nearby service station, buying 11.33 litres of fuel for $14.71. It is alleged he then returned to the bank, pouring the petrol in a trail from the ATMs into the bank's interior before retrieving a cigarette lighter from his pocket and igniting the fuel. 

Daily Mail 

It is unknown whether he will be able to make the intended withdrawal in 11 years or whether the court ordered that his $442 is to be applied to the $3m damage bill.

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