Victorian Attorney-General keen to release Pell’s evidence to Royal Commission

Victoria’s Attorney-General, Jill Hennessy, says there are no legal impediments to the release of unredacted portions of the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews says he thinks it’s “very important that those documents be released and that those victims know and understand exactly what was said, what testimony was given, what evidence was given, that’s really, really important”.

“They were redacted because there were matters on foot, there were matters on trial.

“Those matters are over so now there’s no reason to keep that secret and I think victims and their families and the memory of those victims who aren’t with us anymore, they are owed that information.”

The Royal Commission reports including evidence from Cardinal George Pell could be published if Australia’s Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter gets the go-ahead from his department.

Porter says he has asked his department’s advice about releasing the unpublished documents relating to Pell’s handling of child sexual abuse complaints.

“Now that this response has been received I have sought final advice from my department on the release of the documents and will proceed upon receipt of that advice which I expect as soon as possible,” Porter says.

The unanimous High Court decision that acquitted Pell of child sex abuse earlier this month also cleared the way for releasing some of the Royal Commission’s unpublished findings.

These relate to Pell’s evidence about the way allegations of child sex abuse by a fellow priest were handled in the Catholic diocese of Ballarat.

Pell was questioned about what he may have known about paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and the offending of other priests.

He was also questioned closely about the Church’s “hardline” approach to sexual abuse cases during his time as archbishop of Sydney.

When Pell was acquittal by Australia’s High Court in early April, Porter said he wanted to work with his state counterparts before tabling the unredacted reports in Parliament.

“It does require some liaison between my office and Victorian authorities, investigative and prosecutorial, to make sure that further tabling with less redaction would not prejudice any future investigations of a number of types,” he said at the time.


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