George Pell's accuser breaks his silence his conviction was quashed

George Pell’s accuser breaks his silence after his sex abuse convictions were quashed and he was freed from jail – as protesters leave the cardinal a chilling gift

  • One of the cardinal’s accusers has spoken out after his conviction was quashed
  • Witness J, a former choirboy, said he accepted the court’s decision on Tuesday
  • But he feared the Australian legal system was ‘weighed in favour of the accused’ 
  • Overnight protesters tied a child’s tricycle to a monastery where he is staying 
  • Cardinal Pell enjoyed his first night of freedom after 405 days in prison

One of George Pell’s accusers has accepted the high court’s decision to overturn his child sex abuse conviction – saying the law is ‘weighed in favour of the accused’.

Known as Witness J, the former choirboy came forward after another accuser died in 2014 and claimed he too was abused by the cardinal.

He said he understood there must be ‘due and proper process’ in a civil society, but feared the system was flawed  – leaving many child sex offenders unpunished. 

Cardinal Pell was jailed for six years in 2018 for sexually abusing two choirboys in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996, but on Tuesday his convictions was quashed.

Two of three Court of Appeals justices at the upheld the jury’s verdict last year, but a full bench of the High Court unanimously quashed the convictions. 

 ‘I respect the decision of the High Court. I accept the outcome,’ Witness J said in a statement released by his lawyer, Vivian Waller. 

A child’s tricycle is seen on the gate of the Carmelite Monastery (pictured) where Cardinal George Pell is staying in Kew, Melbourne on Wednesday

Cardinal George Pell (pictured) is seen on Tuesday after being released from Barwon Prison after the High Court overturned his conviction

St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne was vandalised with red and white paint overnight (pictured)

‘It is difficult in child sex abuse matters to satisfy a criminal court that the offending has occurred beyond the shadow of a doubt.  

‘I understand why criminal cases must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. 

‘No-one wants to live in a society where people can be imprisoned without due and proper process. This is a basic civil liberty.

‘But the price we pay for weighing the system in favour of the accused is that many sexual offences against children go unpunished.’

But Witness J said he hoped the outcome wouldn’t discourage child sexual abuse survivors from coming forward, and reassured them ‘most people recognise the truth when they hear it’.

Cardinal Pell was acquitted of child sex abuse convictions and spent his first night out of prison in this monastery, where a child’s bike was left (pictured)

Crime Scene Services leave St Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday morning (pictured) after investigating graffiti sprayed overnight

Graffiti sprayed overnight on Tuesday (pictured) on St Patrick’s Cathedral, including red paint on the forecourt and white crosses on the gate

‘I am content with that,’ he said.

The father of the boy who died said he was shocked at the result, and heartbroken for his son’s friend ‘who had nothing to gain from speaking out’. 

Cardinal Pell spent his first night after 405 days in prison at the Carmelite Monastery in Melbourne, where a lone child’s tricycle was left overnight.

Haunting pictures show the small red bike tied to the monastery’s front gates, surrounded by colourful ribbons. 

And it seems Pell could be already enjoying his new found freedom, with a private chef seen leaving the Carmelite Monastry in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.

The Carmelite Monastery in Kew (pictured), where George Pell is staying following his release HM Prison Barwon in Geelong on Tuesday

White ribbons were also tied to the gates of St Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday morning (pictured), where the alleged abuse was said to have taken place

He is also said to be planning a trip to Rome, which is currently in lockdown after 17,000 Italian coronavirus deaths, or out to America, which is similarly affected. 

Some reports suggested that the cardinal could even speak directly to the media as early as Wednesday afternoon.

The court’s decision has bitterly divided many Australians, with protesters hanging up white ribbons outside St Patrick’s Cathedral, where Cardinal Pell’s accusers alleged the abuse took place.

It was also vandalised overnight, with messages such as ‘no justice’ and ‘the law protects the rich and powerful’ scrawled across its doors and forecourt.

Meanwhile, the Vatican welcomed Cardinal Pell’s acquittal, praising him for having ‘waited for the truth to be ascertained’. 

George Pell is seen on Tuesday (pictured) after being released from prison, having spent 405 days behind bars

The doors of St Patrick’s Cathedral, where the alleged abuse took place, were covered up on Wednesday morning (pictured) after being vandalised overnight

A man wearing a face mask removes a child’s tricycle that was hung on a gate of the Carmelite Monastery in Melbourne (pictured) on Wednesday morning

While not mentioning Cardinal Pell by name, Pope Francis offered his Tuesday morning mass for those who suffer from unjust sentences.

‘I would like to pray today for all those people who suffer unjust sentences resulting from intransigence (against them),’ the Pope said. 

The 78-year-old cardinal was watching television just after 10am when the news broke on Tuesday that he was to be released.

‘I was watching the television news in my cell when the news came through… I thought, ‘well, that’s great. I’m delighted’,’ he told The Daily Telegraph through a friend.

A worker at the monastery (pictured) is seen removing the tricycle which was left outside overnight by protesters 

Pell leaves the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne on June 6 2019 after his initial conviction

‘Of course, there was no one to talk to about it until my legal team arrived. However, I did get a great cheer from somewhere within the jail and then the three other inmates near me gave a great cheer as well.’

When asked by a prison guard how he felt about the ‘miracle’, Cardinal Pell said there was no miracle, only ‘justice’.

Pell’s first meal as a free man was steak and vegetables, which was cooked by nuns. 

He did not stop to speak as he left the prison and instead issued a statement saying the serious injustice he has suffered had been remedied.

A nun closes the gates at the Carmelite Monastery in Kew, where George Pell is staying following his release HM Prison Barwon in Geelong (pictured on Tuesday)

‘I hold no ill will to my accuser, I do not want my acquittal to add to the hurt and bitterness so many feel; there is certainly hurt and bitterness enough,’ he said. 

Pell said his trial was not a referendum on the Catholic Church or how Australian church authorities dealt with paedophilia.

‘The point was whether I had committed these awful crimes, and I did not,’ he said.

Cardinal Pell was charged by Victoria Police officers after a man came forward in 2014 alleging he and another choirboy had been sexually abused at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.

That boy, now in his 30s, gave evidence in court, revealing he felt compelled to come forward after the death of the other boy.

A jury convicted Cardinal Pell of five charges in December 2018 after an earlier jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Victoria’s Court of Appeal upheld the convictions last year.

With coronavirus sending Queensland into lockdown, the forecourt and road outside the High Court in Brisbane were empty for the handing down of Tuesday’s decision.

The charges against George Pell:

The surviving choirboy had alleged that Pell had caught him and his friend swilling altar wine and said something like ‘What are you doing here?’ or ‘You’re in trouble’.

‘There was this moment where we all just sort of froze and then he undid his trousers or his belt, like he started moving underneath his robes,’ he said.

‘He pulled [the other boy] aside and then he pulled out his penis and then grabbed [the other boy’s] head.’

He said the other boy struggled while Pell’s hands were around his head and shoulders.

The surviving choirboy said Pell then turned his attention to him and put his penis in his mouth. 

‘Archbishop Pell was standing. He was erect and he pushed it into my mouth.’

Pell was originally found to have exposed himself and forced a boy to perform oral sex on him inside the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne (pictured). He has always maintained his innocence and has now been acquitted of all charges by the High Court of Australia 

 

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George Lazenby believes Margot Robbie should be next James Bond

‘She’s ballsy!’ James Bond actor George Lazenby believes Margot Robbie should take over the role of 007 following Daniel Craig’s departure

George Lazenby believes Margot Robbie could make a ‘ballsy’ James Bond. 

The 80-year-old actor, who played 007 in just one film, 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, has admitted he wants the person who replaces Daniel Craig in the spy thriller franchise to be a female.

He has tipped the Birds of Prey star for the iconic part, saying: ‘I would rather see a woman on screen than a man, so it might be a good idea having a woman play James Bond… Jane Bond. I think it’s a good idea.’

He would know! Australian actor George Lazenby believes Margot Robbie would make a ‘ballsy’ James Bond. Pictured on September 29, 2019 in London

He added: ‘I mean, why not? There’s an Australian actress that I was just listening to on the television today, Margot Robbie. She would be good. She’s ballsy. 

‘She comes across like she’s very confident… if you can pull that off, people will believe you.’

Lazenby has, by his own admission, never watched his successors as Bond because he is ‘just not interested’ in the franchise.

Perhaps for this reason he isn’t against the idea of a woman stepping into the role. 

Bold move: ‘I would rather see a woman on screen than a man, so it might be a good idea having a woman play James Bond… Jane Bond,’ Lazenby said. Pictured: Margot Robbie 

He said: ‘Why not? They’re much stronger than we sometimes give them credit for.’

However, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has insisted she is ‘not interested’ in a female superspy. 

Broccoli, 59, said that the person who will be cast as 007 when Daniel hangs up his suit ‘can be of any colour’, but she ruled out speculation there will be a ‘Jane Bond’. 

Back in the day: The 80-year-old actor played 007 in just one film, 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

She said: ‘Bond can be of any colour, but he is male. I’m not interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it.’

Daniel Craig will walk away from the role after 14 years following his turn in No Time to Die and he is ‘excited’ to see who takes over. 

Asked if he’ll have any say in his successor, said: ‘No. But I’ll be excited when it happens, as I’m a Bond fan. Was before. Still am.’

Bowing out: Daniel Craig (pictured) will walk away from the role after 14 years following his turn in No Time to Die and he is ‘excited’ to see who takes over

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Former James Bond George Lazenby tips ‘ballsy’ Margot Robbie to be first female 007 – The Sun

FORMER James Bond George Lazenby has tipped “ballsy” actress Margot Robbie to become the first female 007.

The actor, 80, reckons it is about time a woman played the super spy — and believes his fellow Aussie is confident enough to take on the iconic role.


Lazenby, who starred in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, told The Sun: “I would rather see a woman on screen than a man, so it might be a good idea having a woman play James Bond  . . .  Jane Bond. I think it’s a good idea.

“I mean, why not?

“There’s an Australian actress who’s over here that I was just listening to on the television today, Margot Robbie.


“She would be good. She’s ballsy.

“She comes across like she’s very confident  . . . if you can pull that off, people will believe you.”

The Wolf of Wall Street star Margot is 29 — the age at which youngest Bond Lazenby had his sole 007 outing.

Lazenby also said Bond producer Barbara Broccoli could turn to mixed martial arts to find a female 007.

He added: “Some UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighters are women. They’re capable. I wouldn’t like to meet one in a dark alley.”

He had opposed a female 007 in 2018, saying: “It wouldn’t work. If you hit a woman, you get arrested.”



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Loos for George Clooney's staff… in a shed at his £12m mansion

George and Amal Clooney to build a shed complete with toilets and a kitchen for the security guards who patrol their £12million estate

  • Actor and lawyer want to construct shed for security guards on their £12m estate
  • Planning application shows single-storey building used for ‘security purposes’
  • South Oxfordshire District Council worried hut could damage roots of redwood

Given it features indoor and outdoor pools and a cinema, it would be fair to assume bathroom facilities at George and Amal Clooney’s 17th century mansion are equally well-appointed.

So it is perhaps no great surprise to discover the A-list actor and lawyer are planning separate quarters for the hired help.

In a case which is less upstairs-downstairs and more indoors-outdoors, the couple want to construct a shed for the security guards who patrol their £12million estate – complete with a toilet and small kitchen. 

Given it features indoor and outdoor pools and a cinema, it would be fair to assume bathroom facilities at George and Amal Clooney’s 17th century mansion are equally well-appointed

A planning application shows the single-storey wooden outbuilding will be used for ‘security purposes’. 

But the Clooneys’ attempt to hide the hut away in a copse of trees threatens to scupper the plans.

South Oxfordshire District Council raised concerns the hut could damage the roots of a nearby redwood which has protected status, and the Clooneys have had to resubmit their application. 

The A-list actor and lawyer are planning separate quarters for the hired help (Pictured: How the outbuilding could look)

A planning application shows the single-storey wooden outbuilding will be used for ‘security purposes’ (Pictured: The Clooneys’ estate)

The council’s tree officer Tim Onslow-Free said: ‘There appears to be the opportunity to relocate the proposed outbuilding to a more appropriate location.’ 

Clooney, 58, and his 42-year-old wife bought the Grade II-listed property on the banks of the Thames in Sonning shortly after marrying in 2014. 

They have spent millions refurbishing it, although large parts of the estate flooded earlier this year when the river burst its banks.

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George Michael’s boyfriend Fadi Fawaz ‘claims he took photo of singer’s corpse’ after finding his dead body at mansion – The Sun

GEORGE Michael's boyfriend Fadi Fawaz claimed he took pictures of the singer's dead body, according to reports.

The 46-year-old allegedly said he discovered George "cold and blue" at his Oxfordshire mansion on Christmas day in 2016.


He has now admitted taking photos of the Wham! star's body in a now-deleted video clip, the Daily Star reports.

Fadi is claimed to have said: "I took pictures of him when he was dead."

The hair stylist also reportedly said he feared people were "out to get him" over the images.

His alleged confession was made in a video posted to his official Facebook page, which was apparently removed after around two hours.

Fadi, 46, made a harrowing 999 call after discovering George, telling the operator: "It’s George Michael. I think he’s dead. He’s dead. I’ve been trying to wake him up for the last hour but it was not possible.

"He’s gone. He’s blue. He’s stiff He’s gone."

TRAGIC DEATH

Australian-born Fadi first met George in 2009 and they became lovers after the singer's split from Kenny Goss.

In recent months troubled Fadi's behaviour has become increasingly erratic.

In September, he called his former lover a "f***ed up icon" and a "crack head" in a bizarre Facebook rant.

And last summer, he was booted out the singer's £5million pad – and was arrested after smashing up the plush property near London's Regent's Park.

Fadi was also left out of the Careless Whispers singer's £97.6million will and was banned from his funeral.

Instead, Michael left most of his fortune to his sisters Melanie and Yioda, with additional bequests to his father Kyriacos, and to charities and friends.

Tragically, Melanie Panayiotou, 55, was found dead on Christmas Day — exactly three years after her brother's death.

Singer-songwriter George sold more than 80 million albums worldwide in his career making him one of the best-selling artists ever.

At an inquest, a coroner ruled he'd died from natural causes brought on by heart and liver problems.



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‘Without precedent’: George Brandis pitches in as calls swamp embassy in UK

London: Three floors above the grand marble foyer that doubles as Gringotts Bank in the Harry Potter films, the phones are running hot.

The Australian High Commission's coronavirus emergency line is so inundated with calls that even the High Commissioner himself – George Brandis – is pitching in.

High Commissioner George Brandis during a shift taking calls from Australians in Britain affected by the coronavirus crisis. Credit:

"We are in the middle of a huge international event without precedent in any of our lifetimes," Brandis said.

More than 1300 calls were answered on Wednesday and when the hotline opened again at 9am Thursday, another 1300 people phoned within the first two hours. By the end of the day, the figure reached 2300.

"This would be the biggest demand on our consular services in living memory and the staff here have been tremendous," said Brandis, the attorney general in the Abbott and Turnbull governments.

“Biggest demand on our consular services in living memory”: Australia’s High Commission to the United Kingdom, George Brandis manning the phones.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled that out on Thursday but did warn further measures to help "flatten the curve" could be announced soon, including the mandatory closure of non-essential restaurants and shops.

"I believe that a combination of the measures that we’re asking the public to take and better testing, scientific progress, will enable us to get on top of it within the next twelve weeks and turn the tide," Johnson told reporters, before then admitting he could not promise the UK would be on a "downward slope" by the end of June.

The government published emergency legislation on Thursday giving it the power to detain people who have COVID-19 and fine those who do not enter isolation after testing positive.

The Church of England said weddings should be limited to the legal minimum of five attendees – the bride and groom, two witnesses and the priest – during the crisis, while the Bank of England sliced interest rates from 0.25 to 0.10 per cent in a new emergency move to prop up the faltering economy.

The Queen has left Buckingham Palace and will stay in Windsor Castle indefinitely. Prince Philip flew by helicopter from Sandringham on England's east coast to meet her.

An abandoned Trafalgar Square in central LondonCredit:AP

In a rare statement, the monarch urged Brits to follow the advice of the authorities as they enter a "period of great concern and uncertainty".

"We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them," she said.

"At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation's history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal."

The UK death toll stands at 44.

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George Harrison Dissed 2 Beatles in a Song Right After Quitting the Band

George Harrison was an incredibly talented musician. He gave us everything from love ballads to hymns to funk jams. Despite this, his musical talent wasn’t always appreciated by his fellow Beatles.

George was so devalued by Paul McCartney and John Lennon he briefly left the Beatles. He channeled this anger into the song “Wah-Wah.” Although “Wah-Wah” seems nonsensical, it’s secretly an anti-Paul/anti-John diss track.

George Harrison gets fed up with the Beatles

George contributed several new songs to the band during their 1969 sessions for Get Back, the album which would become Let It Be. One of these tracks was “Something,” which would become one of the Fab Four’s most popular hits. However, Paul passed over those songs in favor of tracks he wrote with John . George said Paul was very difficult to deal with during this period.

In 2001, George recalled “At that point in time, Paul couldn’t see beyond himself. He was on a roll, but…in his mind, everything that was going on around him was just there to accompany him. He wasn’t sensitive to stepping on other people’s egos or feelings.”

Things weren’t cordial between George and John either. On Jan. 10, 1969, the two came to blows. Although the details of the argument aren’t known, they must have been serious. George was so upset he apparently left the Beatles. John tried to proceed with the Let It Be session unaffected, but he was secretly very worried George had left the band for good.

The song George Harrison wrote in response to Paul McCartney and John Lennon

George was one of rock music’s great artists and like all great artists, he vented his frustrations in his art. George’s anger led to the song “Wah-Wah.” Although “Wah-Wah” is an oddly-titled song that languishes in obscurity, it’s fascinating as both an artistic achievement. It also provides insight into George’s frame of mind as his band was falling apart. 

George was mostly known for his folk ditties, but he could also make awesome hard rock songs when he wanted to. “Wah-Wah” has a driving beat worthy of the Beatles’ best hard rock songs like “Helter Skelter” and “Revolution.” Like a lot of great hard rock songs, “Wah-Wah” has lyrics which are difficult to decipher.

AllMusic says the song is apparently nonsense. The song repeatedly references “wah-wah” in lines like  “Now I don’t need no wah-wah’s/And I know how sweet life can be/If I keep myself free – of wah-wah.” It’s never explained what “wah-wah” is supposed to be, but AllMusic contends it could be interpreted as symbolizing “anything that one feels he needs to get by in life, be it a drug, religion, etc.”

The real meaning of ‘Wah-Wah’

George eventually commented on the meaning of the track. He said its message is “You’re giving me a bloody headache.” Although it might seem nonsensical at first glance, “Wah-Wah” is George’s critique of how Paul and John treated him.

Some lyrics of the track discuss emotional pain: “Oh, you don’t see me crying/Hey baby, you don’t hear me sighing.” If the term “wah-wah” represents some sort of mistreatment, it’s easy to decode lines like “You made me such a big star/Being there at the right time/Cheaper than dime/Wah-wah, you’ve given me your/Wah-wah, wah-wah.”

George would come back to the studio, however, the Fab Four would split in April 1970. “Wah-Wah” would become the first song written for George’s breakthrough solo album All Things Must Pass. The song set him down the path to his legendary 1970s career.

Also see: How the Beatles’ Music (Almost) Got to Outer Space

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George Michael: The Part of His Life He Fought to Hide

It’s been three years since superstar George Michael died on Christmas Day 2016. His death made hearing his hit song, Last Christmas, even more poignant every Christmas since then. His passing, at the age of 53, happened far too soon, shocking the world at the time.

Find out what Michael kept hidden from the rest of the world as much as possible and why.

His death shocked the world

When Michael was discovered dead by his partner, Fadi Fawaz, in 2016, it stunned a world that simply wasn’t expecting such news during the holiday season. His death, according to the coroner, was due to heart disease.

“Inquiries into the death of George Michael have been concluded and the final post-mortem report received,” the Oxfordshire coroner stated. “As there is a confirmed natural cause of death, being dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, the investigation is being discontinued and there is no need for an inquest or any further enquiries.”

A year after Michael’s passing, Fawaz spoke to The Mirror to express relief that the truth that his partner had died of natural causes was now public. Fawaz had felt vilified and blamed for Michael’s death

“George can rest in peace now. I am happy now he can rest, and we can rest as well. I am sure George is happy, now that everything is out. We can move forward. Now I can celebrate the life, the love we had, and move on as one,” Fawaz said in 2017. “It was really painful to feel I was doubted. But now it is all good. I am happy the truth is out. It has been really tough and upsetting, and shocking two-and-a-half months.”

The fortune he left behind

At the time of his death, Michael, whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, was worth $200 million, the bulk of which went to his sisters, Yioda and Melanie – the latter of whom, sadly, died on Christmas Day 2019, three years to the day after her brother’s death.

Fawaz had been in a battle over Michael’s will with the Faith singer’s siblings since his partner’s death and was reportedly removed by force from Michael’s home in July of 2019.

Michael’s family urged Fawaz to get mental health treatment as it seemed his social media posts were becoming more and more muddled and incoherent. In the end, Fawaz did not leave Michael’s home peaceably, causing damage to nearly every room in the $6 million estate.

The secret Michael kept from the world

The Careless Whisper singer worked hard at keeping his considerable charitable donations and interests away from the public eye. It was important to him that his gifts and donations were kept private.

He donated his royalties from the 1991 duet with Elton John, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, to the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV-awareness organization.

And Michael made sure his royalties from Jesus to a Child were given entirely to Childline, a UK phone counseling service for children up until the age of 19. Their website describes the service as “a free, private and confidential service where you can talk about anything. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, we’re here for you online, on the phone, anytime.”

Richard Osman, executive producer for the game show, Deal or No Deal, tweeted after Michael’s passing about the singer’s generosity. Osman stated that the singer once, upon hearing that a contestant was playing to pay for in vitro fertilization treatment, donated exactly what she needed for the medical procedure.

The superstar’s compassion is just another reason to admire – and miss – George Michael even more.

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