Robert Richter is softly spoken but his words have echoed around Australia.
He is loved by his clients but loathed by members of the public for defending those deemed by some to be indefensible.
The Melbourne-based lawyer representing disgraced former cardinal George Pell today stood inside a packed Victorian County Court metres from his ageing client and dug his heels in.
Dressed in a black robe with matching black glasses, he called Pell's 13-year-old victims "naughty boys" for drinking church wine before they were attacked.
He argued that Pell's crimes — which include sexual penetration of a child under 16 — were "plain" and "vanilla".
He suggested the Vatican's third most senior catholic should get a slap on the wrist because his sex crimes against two boys lasted "less than six minutes", there was "no ejaculation" and "no use of any implement".
The septuagenarian and atheist — who was twice today asked to raise his voice by Victoria County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd — is no stranger to controversy.
He represented Hoddle Street Massacre architect Julian Knight on a pro-bono basis in 1998 and underworld figure Mick Gatto in 2005. Such was his gratitude, Gatto later had Richter's name tattooed on his chest.
In the course of his job he's represented tax cheats, bikies, fraudsters, surgeons and billionaires, but his display in court today was perhaps his most astonishing.
Judge Kidd put him "on notice" for suggesting Pell's crimes inside Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral in 1996 were "on the low end of offending". Judge Kidd said plainly that he would not entertain that notion.
"People make reasoned choices," he told the court.
"That's what he did and he did it for over five minutes. He exploited two vulnerable boys. There was an element of brutality to this assault. It was an attack.
He told Richter that Pell's crimes were not "trifling".
During a lunch break today, Richter was hounded by members of the public. When proceedings resumed, the court heard he was "verbally abused".
At the end of proceedings today as the defence lawyer made the short walk to his chambers, one bystander yelled: "What's it like defending a rat?"
"Not as bad as it would be defending you," he shot back.
Pell did not leave the courthouse this afternoon. He sat in the dock for more than five hours. At times he removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes for long periods.
The 77-year-old was found guilty in December of sexually penetrating one choirboy and molesting another, but the verdict was not made public until yesterday.
The court today heard how Pell discovered the two boys drinking sacramental wine in a corridor away from members of the public.
Crown prosecutor Mark Gibson said he then commenced a "brazen, forceful" sexual assault.
"Shortly after Pell came upon the (victims), he committed an indecent act upon (one of them). This involved placing the boy's face or head in close proximity to his genital region. A short time after this, he sexually penetrated (the other boy)," Gibson said.
"He then committed another indecent act … this involved touching the boy's generals. While this was occurring, Pell touched his own genitals."
Gibson said a month after the first incident, one of the boys was approached again in a back corridor.
"Cardinal Pell pushed himself again (the boy) and squeezed his genitals for a brief period," he said.
Richter argued the fifth charge, which occurred a month after the first, did not warrant jail time on its own.
But Judge Kidd said multiple times it was unhelpful to compare one sex crime against a child with another.
While many viewed today's performance as out of place with legal arguments around child sex abuse, Guardian journalist Melissa Davey tweeted that Richter was simply doing what he does best.
"I know many following my tweets are surprised and shocked by the comments of Pell's defence barrister Robert Richter," she wrote.
"But this is classic Richter. It is what he is renowned for. He toned it down a bit in the trial but what we're seeing today is Richter's style in force."
Outside court, after Pell had his bail officially revoked, Richter was asked whether he regretted making the comments about "plain vanilla" sex crimes.
He told Sky News: "I don't know what you're talking about."
Pell has been remanded in custody to reappear in the County Court on March 13 for sentencing.