Pell seeks access to trial file of paedophile brother
Cardinal George Pell ... victim's claims ''untrue''. Photo: Anthony Johnson
LAWYERS acting for Cardinal George Pell have applied to a Melbourne judge to inspect a court file from a trial of convicted paedophile and Catholic brother Robert Charles Best.
It is believed the material includes a transcript of evidence by one of Best's victims who has recently alleged Cardinal Pell was present when the boy had complained of being raped by Best.
Cardinal Pell has described the victim's claims as ''irresponsible, untrue'' and said they were ''absolutely denied''.
The Archbishop of Sydney has said he was not in Ballarat in 1969 when the boy was raped and had not been appointed to the diocese until 1973.
It is also understood that the victim, during his evidence at the trial, did not raise the allegation about Cardinal Pell being present and that he was unsure who had been there.
The allegation was made last month by lawyer Vivian Waller who acts for more than 70 victims of abuse by Christian Brothers. It was included in Dr Waller's submission to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry investigating how churches dealt with sex abuse.
A Melbourne barrister briefed by a Sydney law firm appeared on Wednesday before Judge Roy Punshon.
A Crown prosecutor also appeared at the brief hearing that was listed as an ''application'' alongside the name Robert Best.
In sentencing Best, Judge Punshon told him: ''You have caused a great deal of human damage and misery.''
He said the impact statements of many victims provided ''a salutary and powerful reminder of the devastating and long-lasting effect that sexual offending against children can have …''
Best has appealed the guilty verdicts from one contested trial in relation to one of his child sex victims that his barrister submitted were ''unsafe and unsatisfactory''.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Sydney confirmed that Cardinal Pell had applied for access to the court file in relation to Best.
''Allegations relating to a victim of Mr Best were raised by Dr Waller in her submission to the Victorian inquiry and in a number of media interviews. Cardinal Pell was not present in Australia at the time that Dr Waller's comments suggest that he was,'' she said.
''As Cardinal Pell was not involved and does not have any direct knowledge of the matters Dr Waller has raised, the purpose of the application is to seek access to the facts relating to Dr Waller's submission and media comments, as those facts were presented to the Court.
''Cardinal Pell does not propose to take any steps in the prosecution of Mr Best, nor in relation to any applications in those proceedings.''
Cardinal Pell's application has been adjourned.
For help go to www.sexualassault.nsw.gov.au.