A cup of tea with the cardinal: what George Pell did in the Ellis case | World news | The Guardian
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Pell knew of the counter offer, but the fact that it was for so much less than the millions he had somehow come to think were at stake here made no difference to his attitude. Pell decided to fight. Supreme court Royal commissions have remarkable powers. Beyond the reach of almost any court are the internal memorandums of law firms and the correspondence that passes between clients and their lawyers as they prepare for litigation.
Usually the inner history of strategy is entirely protected by legal professional privilege. But the royal commission has the power to bring these documents into the light. They show the evolution of a pitiless strategy to defeat Ellis. Pell called in Corrs Chambers Westgarth, a firm of solicitors he had worked closely with in his Melbourne years. That despite this Ellis and his team continued to attack the trustees mystified and exasperated Pell. The case was heading for court. He made no secret of his reasons for fighting: Pell entered, at this point, a parallel moral universe.
He would come to express his sorrow that the brawl was to prove so expensive for the church and so damaging to Ellis. But having decided to fight, the cardinal archbishop of Sydney was happy to let the contest be conducted according to the values of the law.
Corrs advised and Pell accepted their advice. He knew what this might mean. Pell placed no limits on this operation. The lawyers did little but sift through the files and make a few phone calls to check if the old priest had, as the church insisted, as a clean record. A determined investigation in Scotland might have revealed — as emerged later — that five boys at Fort Augustus Abbey school complained to the church in the s that Duggan had sexually, physically and verbally abused them.
At the time, Duggan was an assistant priest living at the cathedral, a rather romantic figure — a former monk with a fine voice and impeccable liturgical skills. His close relationship with the pupil was notorious at the time. SA — as he became known at the commission — put his complaint in writing. John Ellis was, in formal terms, only seeking an extension of the time usually given to victims to sue for damages. This was a fight for permission to fight the fight. That would be granted more readily if there were no contest about the facts.
But if the abuse was in dispute, the court might take the view that a contest over facts which may or may not have happened 30 or 40 years ago was inherently unfair to the church.
He was careful, he told the commission, not to deny the abuse. Cardinal, Corrs weren't your moral advisers, were they? This was hardball litigation.
The report in March by two senior barristers and the retired head of the NSW public service, Gerry Gleeson, was deeply sympathetic to Ellis. They recommended the process start all over again with fresh mediation and apologies to Ellis from Pell. With the hearing only a month away, the lawyers addressed the problem of the Eccleston report. Under Towards Healing, Pell had discretion to reject Eccleston. Casey told the lawyers: Salmon read this at the time and never protested.
As far as he was concerned the abuse happened. Casey took what Salmon had told him to Pell and wrote later that day to the lawyers: This information places us in a position where we can say that the Archdiocese has never accepted that Fr Duggan was responsible for the abuse Ellis alleges he suffered, either under the Towards Healing process or at law.
It came on the second day of his interrogation. He never denied Ellis was abused. What was on foot at this point was quite unclear to the cardinal.
Benn and McClellan finally meet again
Over and over again he said: He had been an altar boy at the cathedral in the early s when Duggan began to abuse him. The dean did nothing but make SA face Duggan.NIGEL BENN vs GERALD McCLELLAN - One Tragic Fight Night in 1995
SA gave up at that point. A Mrs Judith Penton had befriended Duggan in the late s and had told the lawyers she had often heard the priest speak of loving boys and how they loved him. After the war of words in the papers, with some of the bad things McClellan had said and the stories about him breeding fighting dogs, you could feel unbelievable tension.
When Nigel went down in the first round it looked all over. The shots McClellan was landing; I was thinking 'How can he stand up to this? Then McClellan started to blink and his gumshield was falling out and I thought, 'something's wrong here.
- A cup of tea with the cardinal: what George Pell did in the Ellis case
- Nigel Benn vs. Gerald McClellan
But I couldn't make head nor tail of what his trainers were telling him. What a time for him to have fallen out with Emanuel Steward. Here he was, in a fight like this, and it was as if nobody knew what to do. It was brilliant, dramatic, and sad. Nigel Benn that night.
He was never the same after that. It was as though the heart and soul went out of him. But I have never seen a fight like it in odd years in boxing. He had fallen out with Manny Steward, and wound up with a corner that included a guy he had met just three weeks earlier and who had never been a second before. I can't help thinking someone like Steward would have realised long before the fight was over that something was wrong because television replays show McClellan blinking in his corner from midway through the fight.
Don King and I flew McClellan's family to the UK [after the fight] and put them up in a hotel, which was a six-figure bill. That was the least we could do. The doctor [John Sutcliffe] who had operated on Gerald had wanted him to stay in the UK because his condition was improving. But the family insisted he was flown back to the US, which may not have helped. The story that has gone round that King stood at the end of McClellan's bed and called him a coward simply isn't true.
I should know, because I was there. There has been a lot of emotive crap written and said over the years. The most important man in this is Gerald McClellan. I will be making a donation to him, directly, and I hope that the fund-raising evening is a huge success in terms of the amount raised.
Don King, American promoter Gerald was a good guy who was a great puncher and a terrific fighter.
Boxing: Benn and McClellan finally meet again | Sport | The Guardian
What happened makes us realise that every guy who takes the steps up into the ring is showing courage and valour and deserves our admiration. The outcome of the fight was heartbreaking and was a personal tragedy for McClellan.
But we must not forget this is the hurt business. Every fight, fighters beat each other up and then hug each other. I have made contributions to Gerald and his sisters, but there ain't enough money in this world to make Gerald right again.
If it could be done, the doctors would have done it. Frank and I did all that we could, but we don't have the power to give life or death.
My heart rejoices that Nigel is doing this for Gerald McClellan. Gerald is a decent guy and I love him.