It’s started – Trying to undermine the Royal Commission

Recently there was a report in the Daily Telegraph attacking the head of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse. Something I have been expecting for some time now and it’s something that would have happened regardless of who won the last Election.

Two red flags immediately popped up when I read it.

Firstly, it was found in the Herald Sun (syndicated from the Daily Telegraph) and secondly, it was attacking the head of the Royal Commission.

As written, of course, it’s a worrying item that suggests Justice McClellan has criticised senior crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen for having too much sympathy for the victim of a shocking gang rape. The article also hints at him being unsympathetic towards victims after his opening address about the Royal Commission having opened his eyes to the damage done to victims.

How does this article from Janet Fife-Yeomans really stack up?

What actually happened was Margaret Cunneen SC gave the Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture in 2005 and a very good one it was too from the average citizen’s viewpoint. Unfortunately though she made extensive use of material from a case she was involved with at the time. Members from the Legal fraternity were split on her doing this and although she did not use the names of the Defendants it was decided it was too easy to tell which case it referred to.

On appeal, Justice McClellan was one of 3 panel members who reviewed the case and he actually opted for a retrial but the other two members dismissed the case.

This hardly rates as “had slammed senior crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen’s public show of support” and searching the big G has not turned up any direct statements from Justice McClellan that support the claim. To expect a person to be part of a second trial over the same matter is curious indeed and it does make me wonder what sort of crazy system we would be living with if it hadn’t been judged the way it was.

Now it’s bad enough that the author has misrepresented the data on this first point, but when you add her complaining that Justice McClellan has “has never sat on a sexual assault trial or heard the evidence of a rape victim” then you start to see the intent of the whole article. It’s designed to undermine confidence in the Leadership of the Royal Commission.

On doing further searching on the big G, I was not surprised to see the author is a ) writer of fiction and non-fiction who has a book for sale from Murdoch Books.

Is this designed to be part of an orchestrated campaign? Who can tell at this point. But it certainly is not even handed or accurate and the closer we get to dealing with those who have not protected our children, the more we should expect the apologists to come out of the woodwork.


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