- Church investigator says files listed more than 70 cases
- Priest had child porn
- Prominent people supported Lawrence after his defrocking
- Removalist says he saw child porn in Rushton’s rectory
- Confidential report on yellow envelopes
- Solicitor Allen grilled for third day on abuse
- Sex with priests began at age 14
- Do nothing approach revealed
- Royal Commission hears of “brown envelope” cases
- Lawyer admits tearing up priest’s resignation letter
- Bishop, lawyers in stand
SOLICITOR and former Newcastle Anglican trustee Keith Allen has denied “fixing” a statement that has wife, psychiatrist Sandra Smith, gave to the Royal Commission.
Giving evidence for third day, Mr Allen was taken to another file note by diocesan business manager John Cleary, which said Mr Allen had told him he would need to “spend a day with me soon” to discuss a strategy for dealing with the commission.
Mr Cleary’s file note said: “Allen advised me that (his wife Sandra) Smith had been at the commission for two days… he advised it was very draining… however he had done his best to ‘fix’ Sandra Smith’s statement”.
Asked whether he had changed his wife’s statement, Mr Allen said “No, I don’t think so”, although he said there may have been “facts’ in her statement that he commented on.
Asked why he would need to talk to Mr Cleary, Mr Allen said he knew things about the CKC case that Mr Cleary did not.
Commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan put it to Mr Allen that he was saying “I know how to handle the Royal Commission and you should talk to me about it”.
Mr Allen said “I don’t believe that’s a correct assertion, sir”.
In other evidence, Mr Allen was taken to a church register that the defence of priest CJC used in a 2001 trial that was discontinued by the Director of Public Prosecutions after the document appeared to show that the priest was not in the place that his victims, CKA and CKB, had said he was.
The commission heard that there were very few alterations through any of the pages of the register except for the page that was pertinent to the trial.
The commission heard that numbers, apparently relating to the number of worshippers, had been rubbed out and altered. A crucial date, April 29, 1975, was not in chronological order, and two signatures for the one person appeared to be in different handwriting.
Solicitor Peter O’Brien, for victims CKA and CKB, put it to Mr Allen that “ this document, sir, is a forgery, isn’t it?”
Mr Allen replied: “No. I don’t know that. I don’t know whether it is a fraudulent document or not. I didn’t touch it.”
The commission heard argument over when the register was brought to the court where the trial was proceeding. On one account it arrived at the court on a Friday, and questions were asked about its whereabouts during the weekend before the trial resumed on the Monday.
Mr Allen said the register “wasn’t in my possession”.
Asked whether the church registrar in 2001, Peter Mitchell, had the file, Mr Allen said: “I don’t know what Mr Mitchell had.”
Mr Allen denied an assertion by Mr O’Brien that he had done everything possible to avoid handing over the file for CKC, saying “I don’t think I was ever asked for it”.
This led to Justice McClellan reminding Mr Allen of a file note by church business manager John Cleary in which Mr Cleary recorded Mr Allen as saying that the priest CKC had the CKC file.
In other evidence on Tuesday morning, counsel for Bishop Roger Herft, James Healy, questioned Mr Allen over his relationship with the bishop, saying he was not in a position to say, as he had, that Bishop Herft had a “do-nothing” and “cover-up” approach.
Mr Healy put it to Mr Allen that from the time he arrived in Newcastle in 1993, Bishop Herft had put official procedures in place to deal with sexual abuse within the diocese that were “consistent with the law”.
He put it to Mr Allen that while he was described as “having the ear” of Bishop Herft, he had no formal positions at that time that would have required Bishop Herft to have sought his advice.
Mr Allen said Bishop Herft would “raise issues with [him] at various stages”.
The hearings continue.