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Pell accuser reacts to 'selective leaking'

Lawyers representing the man who has accused the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, of sexually assaulting him 40 years ago are already crying foul, even before the verdict of last week's inquiry has been announced

Following the publication in a Melbourne newspaper yesterday of chunks of the inquiry's transcript which questioned the credibility of the complainant, lawyers acting on behalf of Dr Pell's accuser have lodged a formal complaint to the in-camera inquiry.

Last night, the complainant's legal spokesman, Peter Ward, went a step further, calling for the public release of all the hearing's transcripts in the interests of fairness.

"This selective leaking is outrageous behaviour," said Mr Ward. "We all have the transcripts but we entered into an undertaking of confidentiality until the inquiry concluded and we expected all parties would adhere to that.

"Now the commission must release all the transcripts because what was leaked was a distorted, selective version of what went on."

But when the Sydney Morning Herald contacted Dr Pell's legal spokesman, Richard Leder, last night, he said he would be only too pleased to support Mr Ward's call for the transcripts to be made public, pointing out that previous confidential information had been leaked by the complainant himself.

"We would have no objection to the entire transcript being released if the commissioner and the appointers consider that appropriate," Mr Leder said. "We take our confidentiality obligations seriously and we're very concerned about earlier leaks which came from the complainant. We have repeatedly refused to talk while the inquiry is ongoing."

Jeffrey Gleeson, counsel assisting the commission, said the commission was disappointed and concerned over the latest breach of the inquiry's terms of reference. "The commission is making inquiries in an attempt to discover the source of the leak."

Sydney Morning Herald

Pell case outrage (Herald-Sun) (payment required)
Complain for gain (Herald-Sun 10/10/02) (payment required)
Outrage over leaking of Pell inquiry transcript (Sydney Morning Herald 10/10/02)
Complaint lodged over Pell inquiry leak (ABC)


Representatives of the US group Catholic for a Free Choice met on Wednesday with UN human rights experts to press their case that the Vatican is violating a global treaty that protects children.

The campaigners claim that abuse cases involving priests, most notably in the United States, show that the Catholic Church has failed to protect children as required in the treaty. They want the committee to name and shame the Vatican and force it to act.

"The Holy See represents special challenges to the United Nations because it tries to have it two ways," said Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice. "When it wants to be a religion, it's a religion, and when it wants to be a state, it's a state. When the UN goes after the Holy See it says it's a religious problem, not a state problem."

The group on Wednesday presented documents to the 10 members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The committee's independent experts meet in Geneva to examine the compliance of the 191 countries that have signed the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Catholic for a Free Choice

11 Oct 2002