One month ago I announced that I would be taking legal action against the ‘Anti-Discrimination Thought Police’ in New South Wales for the ongoing and unlawful persecution I have faced for my views on marriage, family and morality.
Since then I have been working non-stop to prepare that legal case.
And late last week I filed a summons in the New South Wales Supreme Court seeking rulings against the President of the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB), President of the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) and the New South Wales Local Court.
I am seeking declarations that the President of the ADB, President of NCAT and the Local Court have no power to hear complaints against me and prohibition orders preventing any further action.
I have been forced to take this action after continued attempts to hear complaints against me, despite a unanimous High Court ruling in April that it was unconstitutional to do so.This shows that the ‘Thought Police’ are prepared to break the law to enforce their radical worldview on all Australians.
They are menace to society and freedom and should be abolished.
I must admit that I have been increasingly stressed after four years of unlawful litigation and persecution. However, I am very proud to have taken this latest step.
This will be a landmark case and it will put the ‘anti-discrimination industry’ on trial for the first time in Australian history. In essence, we are now on the attack and we need to continue.
A Sydney lawyer who has been involved in multiple high-profile anti-mosque campaigns has been accused of misappropriating money he held in trust for one group of campaigners in order to prop up his own firm.
But solicitor Robert Balzola has been allowed to keep practising after a bid by the Council of the NSW Law Society to have him suspended collapsed due to a legal technicality.
The Law Society, the peak body for solicitors, resolved on July 20, 2017, to suspend Mr Balzola immediately, alleging the results of a probe into his finances showed “a deliberate practice of using trust money … to ensure sufficient funds were available in the general account to pay Mr Balzola’s salary and meet the liabilities of the practice”.
In issuing the claims against Mr Balzola, the body gave him an opportunity to explain why it shouldn’t suspend him until June 30 this year.
Mr Balzola launched NSW Supreme Court proceedings to appeal against the decision, initially achieving a stay of the immediate suspension that would allow him to practise while he fought the claims.
The Law Society audit was sparked by a complaint from Julie Hoskin, a Bendigo community member who had engaged Mr Balzola, a prominent Christian, to help her and others oppose the construction of a mosque in the Victorian regional city.
Mr Balzola has also helped similar campaigns in Sydney and Canberra.
Ms Hoskin, who was also being represented by Mr Balzola in another matter, claimed in early 2016 that the trust money deposited by her and other community campaigners was being held in the firm’s general account without her permission, and that there were many discrepancies in the “confusing” account statements he issued.
“Some are major and show that many thousands of dollars are missing,” Ms Hoskin allegedly said.
According to investigator Simon Ward, Ms Hoskin said Mr Balzola had offered to keep the money in trust after several banks refused to hold accounts for the campaigners’ legal fight.
Mr Ward alleged Mr Balzola manipulated trust accounting records to avoid detection by “erroneously issuing receipts from his trust account for funds that were never received”.
“Trust money deposited to the general account was regularly used in meeting the general liabilities of the practice,” Mr Ward claimed.
The accusations were published in a June 19, 2017, Law Society report on the investigation.
Mr Balzola’s solicitor, Jennifer Shaw, attached the report, together with his response to the claims -dated July 18, 2017 – to an affidavit tendered to the court.
Ms Shaw claimed on behalf of Mr Balzola that the breaches were neither deliberate nor dishonest.
She said the allegations largely concerned “administrative errors or oversights” that occurred around 2013 and 2014 and “at a time when the practice didn’t have sufficient systems as he has implemented today”.
Ms Shaw said cases in which Mr Balzola used trust money to pay for office expenses were “typically only the unintended consequence of the practitioner failing to appreciate the presence of trust funds in the office account”.
“All the transactions identified in the report as ‘misappropriations’ or otherwise being dishonest have an understandable, innocent explanation,” she said in Mr Balzola’s response.
Ms Shaw said Mr Balzola’s trust account had been fully reconciled and his accounting systems had been updated, and that the matter didn’t warrant suspension or a manager being appointed to the practice.
In relation to Ms Hoskin’s complaint, Ms Shaw said it had been difficult for her client to deal with the large number of small contributions from members of the public.
On August 4 last year, the case went before Justice Des Fagan, who ordered Mr Balzola to serve evidence on which he relied to overturn the suspension before the next hearing date, urging both parties to move forward quickly.
The proceedings were then repeatedly adjourned at the Law Society’s request.
On June 4 this year, Mr Balzola’s lawyers argued before Justice David Davies that the 56-day period the Law Society had to vary the immediate suspension from the time it notified him had expired.
The Law Society claimed that that 56-day period didn’t run while the immediate suspension was placed on hold by the stay.
The court heard that, because of the stay, the body did nothing to vary the temporary ban.
“This was because the Law Society is a model litigant and did not want to do anything which might lead to Mr Balzola claiming an abuse of process whilst the stay was in place,” Justice Davies said.
In finding for Mr Balzola, Justice Davies said it was “unfortunate that so much time has elapsed since the stay was put in place and the 56-day period expired”.
“No explanation has been offered, as I have said, about why steps were not taken more promptly to have the proceedings brought on for hearing,” he said in his June 8 judgment.
Justice Davies awarded costs for part of the proceedings to Mr Balzola.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said it hoped that the sentence would “bring some sense of peace” to Fletcher’s victims. It added that the Church had made “substantial changes” to prevent abuse and its concealment.
Detention, but no resignation
Hywel Griffith, BBC News, Sydney
Inside the crowded courtroom, survivors and their families listened studiously as the magistrate delivered his decision.
There were gasps as Magistrate Stone said only a period of imprisonment would suffice, then disappointment at the prospect of home detention.
The sentence is significant – it means a senior Church figure could be made to wear an electronic tag, no longer free to go where he wants.
But what angers some victims is that the Church has refused to disown Philip Wilson, and that he holds on to his role as one of its leaders.
How has Australia been handling such cases?
In 2012, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard set up a royal commission, the country’s highest form of public inquiry, to look into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
By the time it had published its final report in December last year, it had handled 42,000 calls and referred more than 2,500 cases to the authorities.
It said institutions including churches, schools and sports clubs had “seriously failed” to protect children. Catholic institutions came in for particular criticism.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said “a national tragedy” had been exposed.
Ireland, the US and Australia have carried out national inquiries, and there have been cover-up scandals such as in the Archdiocese of Boston in the US.
Although there have been convictions of priests for sexual abuse, in many cases accused clergymen were either moved or retired by their Church, with financial settlements agreed in some cases, particularly in the US.
Victims rights groups have complained the convictions do not often extend beyond priest level, with few senior figures brought to account, although a number have left their positions over their actions in sexual abuse cases, including Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston.
From Australian country towns, to schools in Ireland and cities across the US, the Catholic Church has faced an avalanche of child sexual abuse accusations in the last few decades.
Recent high-profile cases and harrowing testimony given to public inquiries have kept the issue in the headlines.
Meanwhile alleged cover-ups continue to dog the Church, and victims groups say the Vatican has not done nearly enough to right its wrongs.
Here’s what you need to know.
How did this all come to light?
Although some accusations date back to the 1950s, molestation by priests was first given significant media attention in the 1980s, in the US and Canada.
In the 1990s, the issue began to grow, with stories emerging in Argentina, Australia and elsewhere. In 1995, the Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, stepped down amid sexual abuse allegations, rocking the church there.
Also in that decade, revelations began of widespread historical abuse in Ireland. By the early 2000s, Church sexual abuse was a major global story.
In the US, determined reporting by the Boston Globe newspaper (as captured in the 2015 film Spotlight) exposed widespread abuse and how paedophile priests were moved around by Church leaders instead of being held accountable. It prompted people to come forward across the US and around the world.
A Church-commissioned report in 2004 said more than 4,000 US Roman Catholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations in the last 50 years, in cases involving more than 10,000 children – mostly boys.
A 2009 report found that sexual and psychological abuse was “endemic” in Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages in Ireland for most of the 20th Century.
Pope Francis called for “decisive action” when he was elected in 2013, but critics say he has not done enough to hold to account bishops who allegedly covered up abuse.
His predecessor, Pope Benedict, had been accused of failing to protect children and suppressing investigations – allegations he denied.
Before him, under Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced figure at the centre of the Boston scandal, was given a symbolic role in Rome close to the Vatican and allowed to maintain his rank, despite outrage from victims.
Between 2000 and 2010 several huge payouts were made by US dioceses to settle with victims.
In 2011, Pope Benedict told bishops, in new guidelines, that they had to promptly report any suspected cases to local police. Previously, all cases were supposed to be referred to Rome.
Under Francis, a special panel has been set up to deal with the issue but it has faced setbacks, including high-level resignations. In 2017, Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse, left the group, citing “stumbling blocks and hindrances”.
A FORMER St Stanislaus’ College priest, teacher and dorm master will spend at least three and a half years in jail for the historic sexual assault of a student under his care.
Glenn Michael Humphreys, now 64, was sentenced on two indictments on Thursday in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court.
The first indictment, eight counts of indecent assault to which he pleaded guilty, related to the assault of a student under his care at St Stanislaus’ in 1982.
The second indictment – to which he pleaded not guilty but was later found guilty by a jury – included seven counts of indecent assault and one of sexual intercourse without consent, but had no connection to the Bathurst school.
On Thursday, Judge Conlon lifted non-publication orders that had been in place during the trial, saying he saw “no reason to maintain them”.
Humphreys was attached to St Stanislaus’ College between 1978 and 1982 in various roles, including teacher and dorm master. The assaults against the victim occurred over a five-week period in 1982.
Agreed facts revealed the victim had been a boarder at the school when he was called to Humphreys’ room at lights out one night.
Humphreys, who was dorm master at the time, got the student to sit down and listen to music. Humphreys told the student he looked tense and needed a massage. He told the student to take off his top before massaging his back with oil.
The student later left and returned to bed.
One week later, the student was again called to Humphreys’ room where again he massaged his back before instructing the student to lay on his back.
Humphreys removed the student’s pyjamas, which made him feel “vulnerable and exposed”, and massaged his legs before brushing his penis and testicles and masturbating him. He then said to the student “it’s getting late, go back to bed”.
Similar incidents occurred over the next few weeks, including Humphreys forcing the student to masturbate him and Humphreys performing fellatio on the student.
While no threat was made against the victim, Judge Conlon said Humphreys had abused a position of trust to groom the victim. He said at the time of the offence, Humphreys was a 29-year-old man responsible for the welfare of students who took advantage of his position of authority.
In sentencing, Judge Conlon said the offender was now a 64-year-old man whose only conviction on record was in the District Court in Perth on four charges of unlawful indecent assault, for which he served a total of 22 months’ imprisonment.
Since his release, the court heard, Humphreys had undertaken treatment.
In a document tendered to the court in April, Humphreys detailed the stresses which were on him at the time of the offending conduct and spoke about his lack of awareness of skills in setting and maintaining boundaries.
However, Judge Conlon said this was something he found difficult to understand, saying he thought Humphreys’ boundaries “would have been set in stone when he undertook his vows, including the vow of chastity”.
The court also heard that since his release from jail in Western Australia, Humphreys has been living with aged members of the religious community and enjoying the social support of priests of the religious order.
A psychiatrist’s report given to the court spoke of Humphreys’ progress and said he was a below average risk of reoffending. Humphreys’ pre-sentence report also said he was in a low risk category of reoffending, relative to other sex offenders.
References and testimonials provided to the court told how his life’s work was for “the care of others, particularly those in less fortunate circumstances”. The references said Humphreys was held in “high esteem” by all who came in contact with him.
Reverend Burke, who has known the offender since 1974 and visited him in jail in Western Australia, said while in custody he was dedicated to helping fellow inmates.
In sentencing, Judge Conlon found Humphreys’ lack of offending for 32 years and his service to the community meant he was unlikely to reoffend.
While he did not accept the offender pleaded guilty to the charges relating to Bathurst at the earliest opportunity, he said the timing of his plea still carried some utilitarian value.
Humphreys was convicted on both indictments and sentenced to an aggregate term of seven years and six months in jail, expiring on December 19, 2025. A non-parole period of three years and six months will expire on December 19, 2021.
Judge Conlon recommended Humphreys be jailed in a minimum security facility.
AN ANGRY Charlie Pickering has taken aim at the Catholic Church.
The host of The Weekly took exception to comments made by the acting Archbishop of Adelaide Greg O’Kelly this week, who said, the church would not abide by legislation forcing priests to report confessions of child abuse to police.
“Politicians can change the law, but we can’t change the nature of the confessional, which is a sacred encounter between a penitent and someone seeking forgiveness and a priest representing Christ,” Bishop O’Kelly said.
Pickering told viewers on Wednesday night that the church was “protecting predators in God’s name”.
“In response to the royal commission … here we have a religious organisation saying publicly, with a straight face, that it considers itself above the law,” he said.
“Now, Greg … is the acting Archbishop because his predecessor was convicted of covering up child abuse. (He) said the seal of confession is sacred. Well, it is a sacred seal the church has used to protect serial child abusers who landed them in the royal commission in the first place.
“That, according to the church, is sacred and none of our business.”
He slammed the Catholic Church for abiding by some laws but not others.
“The church is fine with laws that protect it from paying tax but refuses to abide a law designed to protect innocent children from abuse,” Pickering said.
“If O’Kelly has his way, victims could be left without proper justice while abusers are able to alleviate their guilt and shame. Rather than protecting victims from predators, they are protecting the predators and doing it in God’s name.”
Pickering said he could not say what he really wanted to say “because I am subject to the law (but) “maybe I should swing by his confessional because apparently there I can get away with anything”.
Under the new law, set to take effect in October, priests who hear confessions about child abuse will have a legal obligation to report the matter to police.
But Bishop O’Kelly told ABC Radio Adelaide on Friday that “it doesn’t affect us”.
The law forms part of the South Australian government’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, released by Attorney-General Vickie Chapman last Tuesday.
It was widely publicised by Attorney-General Chapman last month when Archbishop Philip Wilson stood aside amid public outcry after his conviction for covering up child sexual abuse.
Canon (Church) law lays down that “it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason”.
The penalty for violating the seal of confessional is excommunication, as every priest knows. The law also stipulates that anyone else who happens to hear or overhear someone confessing sacramentally is also obliged to observe the seal.
Not reporting abuse will carry a maximum $10,000 fine, and brings expectations of priests in line with those of social workers, teachers, medical professionals and others in positions of authority.
My name is Garry Burns, an Australian Anti-Discrimination Campaigner who runs matters in the public interest to protect homosexuals and other minority citizens from public acts of unlawful vilification and discrimination.
I have commenced defamation proceedings against Australian Anti-Homosexual, Anti- Islam Conservative Christian Blogger Bernard Gaynor over his publishing of third party comments on his Facebook Wall that suggest or imply that I by the name of Garry Burns actively support the practice of paedophilia, to warrant public condemnation and that I and other homosexuals condone serious sexual crimes against children. I allege Mr Gaynor is the primary publisher of those comments published on a page of which he is the moderator.
I am raising funds to engage legal Counsel to run the matter at hearing.
The homosexual community will benefit by this litigation because the court proceedings will draw attention to the fact that homosexuals are not criminals who molest underage Australian children.
Any assistance no matter how big or small is greatly appreciated.