A VICTIM of paedophile priest James Fletcher threw a bottle at the Nelson Bay presbytery in an angry outburst about ‘‘the things priests did to boys’’, the Special Commission of Inquiry in Newcastle has heard.
Resuming his evidence under questioning from counsel assisting the commission, Julia Lonergan, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox was taken through his recollection of the matter, which took place in 1998.
The bottle thrower was Fletcher victim AH.
Mr Fox said that a priest who was present when the bottle was thrown, Father Robert Searle, had initially confirmed that AH had yelled drunkenly about the things that priests did to boys.
In a phone conversation, Mr Fox said Father Searle had also said AH’s outburst was perhaps understandable ‘‘in the light of what we now know’’.
Mr Fox was investigating the matter in 2003.
But when another policeman, Dan Brown, took a statement from Father Searle a few days later, the priest gave a different account of the event.
In his formal statement Father Searle had said AH’s complaint was that ‘‘nobody loves me’’.
Mr Fox was questioned at length by Ms Lonergan as to why he did not include this apparent inconsistency in Father Searle’s statement in his report to the ombudsman.
Ms Lonergan suggested this omission meant his report was inaccurate.
Mr Fox disagreed, saying this level of detail was not what the ombudsman’s office had wanted.
Mr Fox said his report to the ombudsman’s office was about whether the church had told the ombudsman about allegations against Fletcher and whether they meant he should have been removed from access to children.
The commission continues.