Australia’s Cardinal Pell Loses Child Sex Abuse Appeal

 

 

Disgraced Cardinal George Pell lost his appeal against child sex abuse convictions Wednesday, prompting relief from those who fought to bring one of the Catholic Church’s most powerful men to justice.

Once the Vatican’s third-ranking official, Pell had been trying to overturn the verdicts and six-year sentence for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys at a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

The high-profile case pitted the powerful 78-year-old — who previously helped elect Popes, ran the Vatican’s finances and was involved in the church’s response to child sex abuse claims — against a single surviving former choirboy.

Pell, dressed in a dark suit, occasionally bowed his head as Chief Justice Anne Ferguson dismissed his arguments and described his victim as “very compelling” and someone who “was clearly not a liar, was not a fantasist and was a witness of truth.”

The ruling prompted cheers to ripple into the courtroom from a large crowd gathered outside, and produced emotional statements from victims, their families and advocacy groups.

The now-adult victim — who cannot be named for legal reasons — said the “stressful” four-year legal fight had taken him “to places that, in my darkest moments, I feared I could not return from.”

Dismissing vocal media critics, the man said the death of his friend, the second choirboy, from a drug overdose had prompted him to break his silence.

“After attending the funeral of my childhood friend… I felt a responsibility to come forward,” he said in a statement read by his lawyer.

“I am not an advocate. You wouldn’t know my name. I am not a champion for the cause of sexual abuse survivors.”

A lawyer for the father of the second victim said he felt “a weight had been lifted.”

“He feels that justice has been delivered today. He has a real sense of relief that George Pell is behind bars tonight,” Lisa Flynn told AFP.

Following the ruling, Pell — who will be eligible for parole in three years and eight months — maintained his innocence and said he was now considering a second and final appeal.

“Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today,” said a statement issued through the church.

“His legal team will thoroughly examine the judgement in order to determine a special leave application to the High Court.”

‘Done their job’

Pell’s lawyers now have 28 days to consider further legal steps.

They had raised 13 objections to his convictions, casting doubt on everything from the physical possibility of Pell removing his robes to carry out the act, to the credibility of the main witness.

The case was unusual in that it relied heavily on the closed-door testimony of the sole surviving victim.

The three judges unanimously dismissed two so-called “fallback” arguments for Pell related to alleged procedural errors during his trial.

His lawyers argued they should have been allowed to show an animated reconstruction of peoples’ movements in the cathedral on the days of the assaults.

They also took issue with the fact that Pell was not arraigned in the presence of the jury. The process was completed via video link so the large pool of potential jurors was able to watch.

Ferguson said that despite these complaints the judges “decided that it was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell was guilty of the offence charged.”

Following Wednesday’s ruling Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed sympathy for the victims.

He said the “courts had done their job” and indicated Pell would be stripped of his Order of Australia honour.

During Pell’s trial under a court-ordered veil of secrecy, the Vatican gradually removed him from top Church bodies with little explanation.

Shortly after his conviction, Pell was removed from the so-called C9 Council of Cardinals that are effectively the Pope’s cabinet and inner circle of advisers.

The Vatican dropped him as the Church’s finance chief and opened its own probe into his actions after his conviction was made public in February.

Child Shot During Spanish Hunt Dies

Map of Spain

 

A four-year-old child shot during a hunting expedition in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia has died, police said Saturday.

“I can confirm the death of a child of four years, who was hit by a bullet on a farm in the town of Burgillos (near Seville),” a spokesman for Spain’s civil guard told AFP.

The incident happened on Saturday during an organised hunting expedition and the child had died in hospital, he added.

While police released no details of the incident, they said that they were working on the theory that it had been an accident.

In October, Spanish newspapers reported the death of a 13-year-old who was shot in the head during a hunting expedition in the northwest province of Valladolid.

AFP

Neymar Blames ‘Brattish’ Behaviour On His Inner Child

Brazilian football star Neymar, with his son Davi Lucca, offers an interview to AFP on July 21, 2018 at his charity Neymar Junior Project Institute, in Praia Grande, Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he hosted a five-a-side football tournament. Miguel SCHINCARIOL / AFP

 

Neymar has tackled critics who derided his play-acting at the World Cup, admitting he “overreacts” and blaming his “brat” like behaviour on his inner child.

The Brazilian superstar was widely lambasted in Russia for his theatrical reactions to challenges which often left the world’s most expensive footballer wincing and rolling on the ground.

“Boot studs on the shins, kick in the spine, stomp on the foot, you may think I overreact, and sometimes I do, but for real? I suffer on the pitch, but you have no idea what I go through outside of it,” he said in comments on a television commercial for a razor blade.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward, speaking in Portuguese with English subtitles, continued “You may all think I’ve fallen too much, but the reality is I did not fall, I crumbled.”

“And that hurts more than anyone stepping on your post op ankle,” he added, alluding to the surgery on the injury he suffered back in February.

“When I act like a brat, it isn’t because I’m a spoiled child, but because I still haven’t learned to deal with my frustrations.

“There’s still a boy inside of me, sometimes it dazzles the world. Other times it pisses everyone off.

“And my fight is to keep this boy alive, but inside of me, not inside the field.”

He adds: “You can keep throwing rocks at me, or you can throw your rocks away and help me get up. Because when I do get up the whole of Brazil gets up with me.”

This is not the first time Neymar has addressed his taxing World Cup.

On his return from Russia, he took a tongue in cheek swipe at his detractors with an online video teaching children how to dive.

And last week, in an interview with AFP, Neymar disclosed he “didn’t want to see a ball, or to see any more football played” after Brazil’s premature exit.

AFP

Suspected Traffickers Nabbed Trying To Sell Four-month-old Baby

Suspected Traffickers Nabbed Trying To Sell Four-month-old BabyOperatives of the special task force, Operation Safe Haven, have intercepted a transaction involving the sale of a four-month-old baby in Plateau State.

The Commander of the Task Force, Major General Rogers Nicholas, said members of the security outfit intercepted the deal which was purportedly brokered by a legal practitioner, through an intermediary where an amount had been agreed and paid for the baby.

Recalling how a similar syndicate was intercepted a few months ago in Jos, Major General Nicholas expressed concern over the growing trend of child trafficking in the state.

The baby’s mother, the buyer, the intermediary and the legal practitioner, were paraded at the headquarters of Operation Safe Haven in Plateau State.

The suspects were accused of attempting to sell and buy the four-month-old baby for N100,000.

The 20-year-old mother of the baby, Sandra Ishaku, a resident of Angwan Rukkuba in Jos, claimed that the father of the baby had rejected her and she could not take care of the child.

She said the development led to her decision to sell the baby for N400,000, an amount the buyer, Gladys Chukwuma, said she could not afford but allegedly offered N100,000 for the child through a third party.

The Legal Officer of the task force, Captain Sunday Akinkunmi, stated that no adoption requires any fee as he negates what the legal practitioner involved in the case, Osim Jones, had claimed after allegedly receiving N30,000 as part payment for a processing fee.

The suspects have been handed over to the Police for further investigation and prosecution.

Buhari To Attend 3rd Dakar International Forum On Peace And Security In Africa

Buhari To Attend 3rd Dakar International Forum On Peace And Security In AfricaPresident Muhammadu Buhari will attend the Third Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa in Dakar, Senegal, from December 5-6, 2016.

The President’s Spokesperson, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

President Buhari however had a closed-door meeting with the President of Liberia, Mrs Hellen Johnson Sirleaf at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Both leaders began the private discussion shortly after President Sirleaf arrived in the nation’s capital earlier on Monday.

After the meeting, President Buhari is expected to leave Abuja to attend the peace forum which is being convened by President Macky Sall of Senegal, with support from the African Union to discuss security-related challenges on the continent.

It will be attended by African leaders and representatives of regional and international organisations.

President Buhari is scheduled to participate in the Panel of Heads of State on Tuesday, December 6.

The President, who has identified improved security in Nigeria as a priority for development, shares the vision of the forum in finding lasting solutions to security challenges on the continent, notably terrorism and violent extremism, piracy, drugs, child and human trafficking.

In Dakar, the Nigerian leader will use the occasion of his participation in the forum to continue his active engagement with political authorities on the need for enhanced security cooperation in the region.

The theme of the two-day Forum is, “Africa and its Security Challenges: Perspectives for Effective Solutions’’.

A Video For Banky W’s Unborn Child

BankyW, LynxxxEmpire Mates Entertainment Boss, Banky W has released the video to one of his tracks – Unborn Child – on the R&BW album, featuring Syndik8 records artiste, Lynxxx.

Unborn Child is an emotional song with the video shot in New York City.

The script for the video was written by Banky W who also directed the video alongside while the Jonathan Whittaker.

Double Dose

The ‘Strong Tin’ crooner also recently released the visuals to the song ‘Low Key’, in which Tanzanian supermodel Millen Magese features.

Orelope-Adefulire Seeks End To Assault Against Girl Child

Orelope-AdejokeThe Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, on Monday, made a clarion call for collective commitment towards putting a stop to all forms of sexual harassment, assault and abuse particularly rape cases against the girl- child.

She added that everyone must be ready to break the culture of keeping silent on rape cases and violence. She recalled the 700 black high school children who were massacred in Soweto South Africa that led to the celebration of the International Day of the African Child.

She explained that the objective of the media briefing was to call for more action to raise the tempo of awareness and sensitize the society on the measures to safeguard the rights of the child as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989.

Mrs Orelope-Adefulire said that various forms of abuse such as sexual harassment, domestic violence, forced marriages, kidnapping, rape, abduction, child trafficking, neglect and denial of education have become rampant and to address this situation, she called for the introduction of stringent sentences.

The Deputy Governor also reiterated the call for the rescue of the schoolgirls who were abducted from Chibok in Borno State in April and appealed to the nation’s leaders to do everything possible in ensuring that the innocent girls were brought back alive as soon as possible.

According to the Deputy Governor, parents and guardians, especially the mothers should be more vigilant, available and committed to the welfare of their children by balancing their careers with their duties as mothers.

She reiterated her call for the conduct of psychiatric tests on perpetrators of rape and sexual harassment, which she said has been on the increase, adding that some of the cases are simply inexplicable and calls for concerns.

Mimiko flags off maternal health week

The November 2012 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week has been flagged off in Ondo State by Governor Olusegun Mimiko.

The state governor though absent was represented by the first lady of Ondo state; Mrs. Olukemi Mimiko at the occasion in Akure the state capital.

She said the programme is meant to sensitize women so that they stay healthy by adhering to all the health practices, including routine immunisation of their babies.

Mrs .Mimiko was accompanied by the Health Commissioner; Dayo Adeyanju and present at the mother-child friendly programme were government officials, health workers, and representatives of partner agencies at the occasion.Pregnant women and nursing mothers were also present in their numbers at the premises of The Basic Health Centre, Ondo Road Akure ; the venue of the programme.

Speaking to Newsmen at the flag off, Mrs Mimiko said the maternal new-born, and child health week is organised to ensure safe delivery, routine child immunization, adequate breastfeeding so that the children could grow old and healthy.

She expressed gratitude to Governor Mimiko, officials of the ministry of Health and the Hospitals Management Board for giving women quality attention.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju lamented that some children under age five still die of preventable diseases.

He noted that this calls for proper sensitization of the mothers and other caregivers on key health practices such as: immunisation, sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets, hand washing, deworming, breastfeeding and birth registration among others.

Insecticide treated mosquito nets were distributed freely to all the pregnant women and nursing mothers at the end of the programme.

Health officials on ground also used the opportunity to immunise the babies presented by their mothers.