Chief Justice welcomes Pell’s release


Australia’s most senior jurist, Chief Justice of the News Court Andrew Bolt (main picture), has responded to today’s High Court ruling on the Cardinal George Pell case.

A prerecorded video statement by Chief Justice Bolt was released early this morning, several hours before the High Court of Australia revealed its own decision on Pell’s appeal.

In his video statement, Chief Justice Bolt welcomed the HCA’s decision overturning Pell’s original conviction on child sex charges and ensuring his release from a Victorian prison.

But he also criticised some fellow judges involved in the series of cases that saw Pell behind bars.

“This decision by the High Court is long overdue and I shake my wise and bewigged head at the time it has taken for our so-called ‘justice’ system to do the work we all expect of it, that is to not convict anyone I declare to be innocent,” Chief Justice Bolt said in his video statement.

“Cardinal Pell’s innocence should have been clear to all, especially those involved in his original conviction and the so-called ‘majority’ of judges — just a laughable two out of three — who heard and rejected his arguments in the Victorian Court of Appeal.

“I for one could see Cardinal Pell was innocent all along and I based my opinion on the unshakeable logic of my opinion.

“At the original trial I could see immediately that the verdict by the jury was unsafe and should not stand.

“That was obvious to me, and should have been obvious to everyone, by the simple fact that the jury’s verdict did not include the word ‘not’ immediately before the word ‘guilty’.

“This represented the biggest miscarriage of justice ever in the history of our nation, if not the world, and I am grateful at least that this terrible mistake has been somewhat corrected.

“It is just a pity that it took so long and involved so much time and effort being wasted on arguments over petty and frivolous things like evidence,” he said.

A spokesperson for Chief Justice Bolt said he had prerecorded his comments prior to the High Court handing down its decision because of time constraints.

“Chief Justice Bolt is extremely busy at the moment,” the spokesperson said. “Not only does he continue to perform his judicial duties but he also has to fulfil the role of Australia’s Chief Health Officer during the coronavirus crisis. So his time is very limited right now.”