Through his lawyer, the father of the deceased choirboy, has said he is in shock at the high court’s decision.
Lisa Flynn, national practice leader at Shine Lawyers, represents the man in a separate civil lawsuit against the Catholic church.
Our client is currently in shock. He is struggling to comprehend the decision by the high court of Australia. He says he no longer has faith in our country’s criminal justice system.
He is furious the man he believes is responsible for sexually abusing his son was convicted by a unanimous jury only to have that decision overturned today allowing George Pell to walk free from jail.
Our client says he is heartbroken for the surviving victim who stuck his neck out by coming forward to tell his story but was ultimately let down by a legal process that forced him to relive his pain and trauma for no benefit.
Our client says this man, who the jury believed, is an upstanding citizen who had nothing to gain from speaking out other than to protect other children from the pain and suffering he has to live with on a daily basis.
He has no doubt George Pell sexually abused his son and that his son’s sudden turmoil was a direct result of the abuse he suffered inside Melbourne’s Catholic cathedral at the hands of George Pell.
This is not the message we need to be sending to vulnerable survivors of sexual abuse.
It suggests that even if survivors of child sexual abuse report their abuse, convince police to lay charges, convince the prosecution to pursue those charges, convince a jury to convict the accused, convince a court of appeal to uphold the jury’s decision, they can still be denied justice by the country’s highest court.
To the hundreds of thousands of survivors and victims of child sexual abuse, I encourage you to stay strong in your fight for justice and your desire to make this world a safer place for our children.
Do not let this decision stop you from speaking your truth. Instead, use today’s decision to free George Pell to ignite your fire and take on your abuser.
We will continue to pursue a civil claim on behalf of our client despite the high court’s ruling today. He has suffered immensely and maintains George Pell was responsible for his son’s sudden downward spiral after he abused his son as a young choirboy.
A civil case isn’t treated the same as a criminal case in that there are different standards of proof and one is not reliant on the other.
Our civil case is focused on the devastating impact this has had on our client’s life. The standard of proof is on the balance of probabilities – that is whether it is more probable than not the abuse occurred and caused our client to suffer injury.
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