Supreme Injustice – Guilty until proven not Catholic?

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This is the account of how South Australia’s major newspaper conducted a campaign of public vilification and vandalism of Dr Fleming’s excellent reputation. South Australia Police were entirely unconvinced by the decades old, uncorroborated accusations – which the paper devastatingly determined to publish as if true. However, in modern Australia, if the accuser is female and the accused a conservative Catholic priest, that presumption in trials by media and courts alike appears to have been turned on its head for a novel axiom: ‘believe all women’.

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Supreme Injustice

Guilty until proven not Catholic?

THE presumption of innocence is a bedrock of Western jurisprudence, refined over centuries. However, in modern Australia, if the accuser is female and the accused a conservative Catholic priest, that presumption in trials by media and courts alike appears to have been turned on its head for a novel axiom: ‘believe all women’.

John Fleming is a high profile priest with a long career as a broadcaster and a feature columnist. He also earned an international reputation as a Catholic scholar specialising in bioethics and public policy, which may also have made him a target of opportunity.

This is the account of how South Australia’s major newspaper conducted a campaign of public vilification and vandalism of Dr Fleming’s excellent reputation. South Australia Police were entirely unconvinced by the decades old, uncorroborated accusations – which the paper devastatingly determined to publish as if true.

Dr Fleming undertook to defend his character and conduct by suing the paper for defamation. As the title of this book suggests, that was about as successful as Cardinal Pell’s experience, except the High Court refused to hear this case.

Introduction

“The April 2020 High Court decision exonerating George Pell has lifted the spirits of his many supporters and has set the Get Pell brigade back on its heels.

The rabid anti-Catholicism of the secular press has been exposed. The manifest deformities of Victoria’s “justice” system has been exposed. The utterly contemptible behaviour of our national broadcaster is patently obvious. Calls for the resignation of Victoria’s Supreme Court justices who ludicrously upheld the conviction of Pell have multiplied since the High Court decision.

Yet there is a danger that all the media attention to the Pell case might have kept other cases of the maladministration of justice off the front pages. Perversely.

Other Catholic priests have suffered from the same toxic anti-Catholicism, the “guilt by accusation” referred to by Professor David Flint among others, that felled Pell. Only their stories, not having the star appeal of Pell, have remained under the radar.

Their stories deserve to be told. Not just to accord justice to the wrongly accused, but to bring to the surface in Australia’s public consciousness a vicious campaign to bury the Catholic Church. To consign it to irrelevance in Australia.

The manifest injustices flowing from the perfect storm of Royal Commission led piles on, MeTooism “we believe you” ideology, victim activism weaponised by powerful interest groups and their favoured priest chasing lawyers, and residual sectarian impulses are, sadly, not confined to the good and innocent Cardinal.”

— Paul Collits

 

Recommendations

  • “The judges proceeded on the basis that the complainant must always be believed, even if her allegations are riddled with uncertainties, discrepancies, inconsistencies, and contradictory statements.”
    — Professor Gabriël A. Moens AM
  • “In a few words, the judge in the Fleming trial and subsequently the judicial members of the South Australian Supreme Court have completely overturned the presumption of innocence and held that some people are simply not to be believed.”
    — Professor Augusto Zimmermann
  • “Dr Fleming’s world has been visited by a calumny which has seriously damaged his life and that of his family, but for which he has been unable to find that quality of justice which any advanced civilised society must provide to all citizens.”
    — Professor David Flint

Additional information

Weight 670 g
Dimensions 22.9 × 15.3 × 2.4 cm
Format

Paperback, PDF, ePub, MOBI

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