K A Benfell (Letters, April 4) parrots the biased, amateur and desperate attempts by many prominent right-wing Australian Catholic politicians and media commentators to cast doubt on the evidence used to convict and sentence Cardinal George Pell.

It's a shame that Chronicle editorial processes dropped the link to the transcript of the Victorian County Court's chief judge that I had included in my earlier letter, which seems to have sent Benfell into such a tizzy that he overlooked coherence and truth in his rush to condemn.

I'll try again so that Benfell and his fellow Catholic doubting Thomases can read that enlightening document. God and Chron willing, it should appear online here https://ab.co/2HypUcl

Sadly, Benfell misleads when he accuses me of "not understanding the judge's role in sentencing" and then claims "the judge must accept the jury's finding in the facts of the case". As even the most casual viewer of courtroom television dramas will know, the jury's input is limited to a simple "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict voiced by its foreperson.

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In Pell's case, that meant multiple guilty verdicts. However, that was not the end of the matter.

It was then the sentencing judge's role to sift through all the evidence tendered by both prosecution and defence during the trial (though notably Pell himself declined to give evidence in his own defence, thus avoiding the cross-examination that would entail).

Anyone with the wit to read the comprehensive and coherent document that the judge read at Pell's sentencing will see that he did analyse, evaluate and comment on individual pieces of evidence. In fact, he used phrases including "I think", "I infer that" and "I reject it".

That was his role.

How seriously can we take the claims Benfell makes when he selectively quotes, but declines to identify, "one person who was present through the whole trial"?

That person was in fact Fr Frank Brennan, a Jesuit priest and prominent Catholic media commentator, who attended some of the Pell proceedings.

Again, truth is the casualty when, in his discussion of the intricacies of evidence about the circumstances of Pell's sexual abuse of the boys, Benfell reports that the door to the church sacristy was open at the time, implying he ran the risk of being caught in the act by passers-by.

However, in his sentencing the judge addressed what he called the brazenness of Pell's conduct in offending against his victims "despite the fact that the door was unlocked". Again, Benfell appears careless with the truth, and that difference is no small matter.
It's ironic that Benfell did not attend the trial and yet his whole defence of Pell rests on his questioning the veracity of the surviving victim's evidence.

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CAROL WEBB
Whanganui


How money works

Brit Bunkley doesn't appear to understand how money works and where you get the most bang for your buck.

When you have a high tax take, it means the Government has most of the money, money which should be working for wealth creation and we know governments are not good at wealth creation; they blow it.

They say they need this money to create fairness in society. This is socialism and it always fails because without wealth creation you create more people who need to be part of this fairness and fewer people who are doing the work to create the wealth needed to fund this fairness drive.

Someone needs to collect big bundles of money to have the wealth needed to fund big projects, and capitalists do it better than any government — been proven over and over, has Brit heard of Venezuela?

Socialists scoff at trickle-down; it sure doesn't trickle up. Capitalist/entrepreneurs have their bums on the line, and if they don't work their butts off to make their business a success it's their butts that get the kicking and their staff who lose their jobs and have to get in the fairness welfare line.

GR SCOWN
Whanganui


Giggles beat hate

Loving page 4 of 48 hours today, Saturday, April 13.

Steve Braunias' secret diary of Israel Folau. The tongue-in-cheek list of who Israel Folau might say are going to Hell was such a pleasant giggle after the hatred and disrespect the man and his visiting friend shown on the TV news, expressed this week.

Also, Prices higher than calories; Kate Stewart's Thinking out loud column was so witty it almost made me forget the price of my last supermarket shop. Thanks for making me giggle early on Saturday.

CHANNA MIRIAM KNUCKEY
Castlecliff