The Melbourne Response Responds After the Enquiry is Finished – Again (Or: Buyer Beware)


Peter O’Callaghan, the “independent” advisor to the Catholic Church’s Melbourne Response program on clerical child sexual abuse (he is employed by them) has made statements lately. These have come after the Victorian Parliamentary enquiry has finished public hearings.

This tactic of “but wait, there’s more” follows on from a similar revelation by Victorian Catholic Church bishops revising upwards the number of abuses cases, and admissions of the number of priests and others who have been convicted of child sexual abuse (see previous posting).

It was an effective way to minimize scrutiny in the popular press. O’Callaghan’s version was to avoid the problem of lying to the enquiry. As a spokesperson for the enquiry noted, after the O’Callaghan statements, “serious penalties awaited anyone who gave false or misleading evidence.” His statements, however, were not given to the enquiry when he gave evidence. As a leading lawyer, he knows the difference.

So, now, the Catholic Church’s “independent” legal advisor says that Victorian police lied to the enquiry, without the need to provide any evidence. Specifically, he accuses the police of purveying “blatant untruths”. With regard to the evidence of police, including the most senior police, he says that a great deal was “misconceived, misleading and damagingly wrong”.

None of this was mentioned during the public hearings. If O’Callaghan’s claims are true, the police involved would be prosecuted. O’Callaghan is giving an untruth, he won’t be prosecuted, because he did not do so during a formal hearing. Useful thing, knowledge of the finer points of the law, hey what?

As the ad goes, “When you’re on a good thing, stick to it”. Expect to see more of the “but wait, there’s more” technique as time goes by.

Read more here:

TOMORROW: Northern Ireland’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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