Chief Justice hits delay


As High Court sittings begin today to consider former Catholic Archbishop George Pell’s appeal against child sex convictions, the nation’s most senior judge has criticised the delay in declaring Pell innocent.

Chief Justice of the News Court of Australia, Mr Justice Andrew Bolt (pictured), said he had long ago drafted his judgement declaring Cardinal Pell innocent of all charges on which he was convicted last year as well as any future charges that might be brought against him on any other matters.

“I am waiting to deliver my findings and I cannot fathom the delay in this case,” Mr Justice Bolt said.

“Our entire judicial system relies on the swift delivery of court rulings, yet Cardinal Pell has had to endure not only the indignity of being convicted on clearly flimsy evidence which I have never heard, but he also faces the outrageous delay in clearing him of all charges by the so-called High Court.

“The upstarts on this very misnamed deliberative body should have declared Cardinal Pell totally innocent a long time ago.

“I can’t understand why there has been such a lag in having them meet to make a ruling.

“I for one don’t believe they need to bother with niceties such as evidence or legal arguments. That’s just more red tape getting in the way of freeing a clearly innocent and great man.”

Mr Justice Bolt said the Pell case should be used to revise Australia’s Constitution to confirm the News Court as the nation’s highest judicial body and the final forum for appeals.

“I am the nation’s most senior judge because I head the News Court. Below that is the Court of Public Opinion and appeals from that court land on my bench,” he said.

“It is a pity that our Constitution doesn’t reflect these realities. We really need a referendum to change that and to cement my judgements as being the final say on any judicial decisions on any matters anywhere in the nation.

“In the meantime there is a distinct hierarchy to our nation’s judicial system and the sooner those so-called ‘judges’ sitting on the so-called ‘High Court’ learn it, the better,” he said.