Judge’s decision to bar ‘Pac-Man’ video in focus of Pell appeal bid

Pell’s lawyers wanted to show it to the jury but County Court chief judge Peter Kidd ruled it out.


The 77-year-old disgraced cardinal,was found guilty on all five charges of abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the cathedral in December 1996, and one of the boys again early the following year.

Pell is in jail awaiting his March 13 sentence.

On December 5 last year Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, QC, had nearly finished his closing address to the jury that was preparing to consider the sexual assault charges against the cardinal.

Having made a power-point presentation on the key defence points, Mr Richter wanted to play the 19-minute video.

Pell’s lawyers hoped it would reinforce their case that Pell didn’t sexually abuse two choirboys on a Sunday in December 1996, based on arguments that he was never left alone, he had met parishioners on the front steps after mass, that the boys couldn’t have gone unnoticed if they broke from a procession outside, and that the sacristy – the room where Pell abused the boys – was busy after mass.

The video, which Pell’s legal team outsourced to producers, featured coloured dots moving in and outside the floor plan of the cathedral, each dot representing participants: from Pell to the organist, to altar servers and choristers.

The sacristry at St Patrick's, the room where Pell abused the boys.

The sacristry at St Patrick’s, the room where Pell abused the boys.Credit:Darrian Traynor

But after viewing the video, prosecutors were worried jurors would subconsciously believe it was an accurate reconstruction and not a depiction.

‘‘It’s a bit like a Pac-Man is moving around the cathedral,’’ prosecutor Mark Gibson, SC, told Judge Kidd while the jury was out of the room.

Judge Kidd ultimately refused to allow Mr Richter to show the video and Pell’s lawyers plan to use that ruling as one of three prongs in appealing against the cardinal’s conviction.

At trial, Pell’s lawyers argued the movement of the dots in the video correlated to witnesses’ evidence.

Lawyers Ruth Shann and Robert Richter outside the County Court last year.

Lawyers Ruth Shann and Robert Richter outside the County Court last year.Credit:Jason South

Mr Richter’s colleague Ruth Shann said the video showed with simplicity where witnesses said they were, and argued for its inclusion so jurors could absorb, pictorially, what they had been told.

‘‘We are in the 21st century and communicating in a visual way is of assistance,’’ Ms Shann told the court.

‘‘We want to leave no stone unturned in defence of the cardinal.’’

After consideration, Judge Kidd ruled it wouldn’t be shown to the jury.

The evidence about people’s movements was fluid, he said, whereas the video showed where people were ‘‘with such specificity’’ it might be misleading. Where they were was a ‘‘quintessential question’’ for the jury.

Six days later, Pell, 77, was found guilty of all charges. He is now in jail awaiting sentence.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or beyondblue 1300 224 636.

Adam Cooper joined The Age in 2011 after a decade with AAP, the country’s news service. Email or tweet Adam with your news tips.

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Источник: Theage.com.au

Источник: Corruptioner.life


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