Flat White

What’s woke this High Court ruling?

9 April 2020

11:08 AM

9 April 2020

11:08 AM

Spare a thought for all the keyboard opinionistas out there who believe they’re the reincarnation of Cicero, Clarence Darrow and Atticus Finch all rolled into one (even though a large percentage of them would have only heard about the fictional character in my list). Tuesday was a bad day for them.

They’ve been eschewing reason in favour of emotion and imbibing social justice theory as mother earth’s milk for so long that most of them have — at best — not even a passing acquaintance with our country’s real justice system and the rule of law or — at worst — extreme prejudice and a willingness to throw the system under the bus when a decision goes against their own highly valued, morally superior opinions.

Everything from pig ignorance to disingenuousness has been on display since the High Court handed down its unanimous decision in Pell V The Queen. And plenty of the commentary has been outright vituperation tinged with bile and flecked with spittle.

Pig ignorance

From the ignorant end of the spectrum consider the following examples from the High Court’s own Twitter page, where any attempt at reasonable discussion was naturally met with figurative pitchforks.

One commenter proves the very inference he derides in sixteen words:

So the High Court of Australia has basically called the common folk of Australia ‘idiots’. Nice

Others prove that the Australian Curriculum’s Civics and Citizenship Year 10 unit might not have adequately addressed the role of the High Court (a bit too much concentration on Mabo and the Hindmarsh Island Bridge, methinks):

Can i appeal the decision or is that not allowed

and

This is appalling. So the High Court dismisses judgement of the court appointed jury. What future the justice system???

And another proves that you can never have too much hyperbole when you don’t get the result you want:

The blood of the victims permanently stains the hands of the members of the High Court.

The disingenuous

But it’s the disingenuousness of comments by the usual woke suspects like MSM journalists and useless celebrities that demonstrates the extent to which Cardinal Pell has been made a scapegoat for the sins of the Catholic Church.


I generally have no truck with Jungian psychobabble but this quote from Sylvia Brinton Perrera suggests that, like a broken clock, even an arch-feminist Jungian analyst might sometimes be right:

[T]he scapegoaters can be sadistic, superego accusers with brittle personas, who have driven their own shadows underground…

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that applies to comments made by the likes of Barrie Cassidy, Tim Minchin and Melissa Daley. Either that or they’re really, really peeved.

Barrie Cassidy

Cassidy is clearly aware that it is not open to the High Court to find anyone ‘innocent’ and that a unanimous decision to quash a conviction is about as strong a statement they can make. But that didn’t stop him from loftily opining on Twitter:

The High Court has found there was not enough evidence to convict. It did not find him innocent. You are then entitled to maintain your view and you are under no obligation to apologise for holding those views.

So, I guess an apology to those Cassidy has previously derided for publicly supporting Cardinal Pell’s innocence, probably won’t be forthcoming, then.

Tim Minchin

The over-hyped Australian wunderkind Tim Minchin (how did Groundhog Day: The Musical work out for you, Tim?) offered this on his Twitter account:

He’s not innocent, and wouldn’t be even if the high court said he was (which it didn’t). Regardless, there are thousands of survivors in this country who had their hearts broken today.

And this was the man who, only days before, posted:

To state the obvious: Just like you can save a life by NOT going to a crowded beach, you can save a life by NOT passing around info about Covid-19 that you have no capacity to critically assess. Leave a bit of space for expert voices to be heard.

I hate to tell you this, Tim, but that’s what high court judges are – the experts. You, on the other hand: not so much.

Melissa Davey

Davey is Chief of the Guardian Australia Melbourne bureau. She, who incidentally has some serious skin in the game with the imminent publication of her book, The Case of George Pell, made this howler of a statement on Twitter:

An interesting point to note in this case is that every court who heard the victim give evidence convicted Pell. The first that didn’t view that evidence acquitted him.

Wrong, Melissa, as someone with your intimate knowledge of the whole, sorry saga, would know.

Actually the first trial, where Witness J gave his evidence in person, resulted in a hung jury, where some reports suggest that as many as ten jurors were in favour of acquitting the cardinal. We’ll never know that but we do know that the jury in the second trial only viewed video of his testimony.

We also know that it is not common practice for appellate courts to view video evidence, and there’s a reason why, which the Victorian Supreme Court might want to consider in the future. As High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel, said in hearing submissions about the appeal:

 [T]he assessment of a witness by demeanour is so subjective.

It’s very difficult to say how it [the video of the complainant] affected an intermediate appellate court judge in terms of how they read the transcript,” Kiefel said. “That’s why you really shouldn’t do it [watch the video] … unless there is a forensic reason to do it.

Et al 

And there are even those who’ve suddenly discovered that our adversarial system of justice is, after all, a crock – well, it was bequeathed to its colonies by England. ABC journalist and producer Peter Cronau first posted this link to this 2011 article by Evan Whitton, which was then retweeted by Quentin Dempster. Wouldn’t you know?

And our old Speccie favourite, snarling Clementine, predictably had this to say:

George Pell is a child abuser, a sexual predator and a life ruiner. Apart from the children he personally harmed, he oversaw the harm of countless others. If there’s a hell, he can rot in it. I don’t care what the High Court and his high profile pedo defending friends say.

Tattooed sepulchre, anyone?

I can’t depart the howling mob reaction to Cardinal Pell’s acquittal without another biblical reference, one that’s particularly relevant this Easter, John 11:50:

Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people…

A happy Easter to the Twitter mob.

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