Australia: Archbishop Pell abuse inquiry begins today

 An inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse by Sydney Archbishop George Pell in the early 1960s begins today. Two lawyers will act for 61-year-old Archbishop Pell, and three for the 53-year-old complainant. The church has appointed former Victorian Supreme Court judge Alec Southwell to investigate a man's claims that he was sexually abused by Dr Pell during a youth camp 40 years ago. Dr Pell, who has stood down from his position for the duration of the enquiry, has strenuously denied the allegations. Lawyers involved are under strict instructions not to reveal where the inquiry is being held, in order to protect the identity of the anonymous complainant and avoid supporters of either side convening on the site. Church officials have secured a top-secret location for the. The in-camera hearing is the first of its kind in Australian history. Several witness will be called, but lawyers will have no power of subpoena. They will not be able to compel witnesses and have no public accountability. Witnesses cannot be found in contempt of court. According to the terms of reference, no information can be released by the commissioner without the written consent of both Dr Pell and the alleged victim, or their legal representatives, unless the commissioner is legally compelled to do so. Source: Church Resources

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