False child sex abuse charges against priest dropped

child sex abuse

A Queensland Catholic priest accused of child sex abuse has had all charges against him dropped.

Father David Lancini’s lawyer, Justin Greggery, told the court that claims Lancini abused a boy in the 1970s were either fabricated or mistaken.

Lying collusion

Detectives and witnesses colluded in Lancini’s arrest last December.

Greggery told the court witnesses colluded on “demonstrably” fabricated statements before Lancini was charged with eight counts of indecent treatment of a boy under 14 years of age.

He alleged one of the witnesses, who was not the complainant, had a vendetta against the priest.

Lancini was in the seminary in Brisbane late in 1971 when some of the offences were alleged to have occurred, Greggery stated.

He therefore could not physically have committed the offences.

Furthermore, even though detectives knew in September about the impossibility of the claims against Lancini, they arrested him anyway, in December.

“Father Lancini’s arrests were on the basis of demonstrably false statements by critical prosecution witnesses” Greggery told the court.

He also said a witness had provided other witnesses with Lancini’s name and photographs. The witness later denied that to police.

“The only reasonable inference was that [the] omission was deliberate” Greggery said.

“Lancini is a priest with an unblemished history.”

Charges dismissed

The Police said there was no evidence to present.

Magistrate Viviana Keegan said as the prosecution had offered no evidence, she was dismissing all eight child sex abuse charges.

Cheers outside courthouse

Amid supporters’ cheers, Lancini thanked his family and supporters.

“I thank them for their kindness, their generosity and their goodness. Also for the many emails, letters and cards, and words of encouragement from the Bishop, religious brothers and sisters.”

Lancini said he and Greggery would make further statements about any legal matters arising.

Concern for victims and survivors

Townsville Bishop Tim Harris is pleased the charges had been dismissed.

However he is concerned about the effect false allegations can have on abuse victims and survivors.

“Situations like this may cause more harm to those people and make it even more difficult for victims to come forward and tell their story” he said.

There has been a recent independent audit of the diocese’s safeguarding procedures.

The auditor’s final report will be made available to the public, Bishop Harris says.

A Police spokesperson was unable to provide any further comment in relation to the matter.


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