Sunday, February 26, 2017

Leader begged brother to face charges

The provincial of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God dropped to his knees and begged a brother to face child sex abuse charges in New Zealand.

Nevertheless, the order still paid to take the extradition battle as far as Australia's highest court.

Brother Timothy Graham told the royal commission that he believes his predecessor as provincial should not have funded the three-year extradition fight.

The issue caused great controversy, Brother Graham told the commission on Wednesday.

"The provincial at the time virtually got on his knees and begged the individual to go to New Zealand to speak to the police but his independent legal advice was not to do that," he said.
"It would have been better if the individual had done as the provincial asked and gone to New Zealand and spoke to the police."

Brother Graham said his now deceased predecessor should not have funded the extradition battle.

"In hindsight I think it would have been better for the provincial at the time not to have done that."

University of Sydney law professor Patrick Parkinson has criticised the lengths the St John of God order went to resist the extradition of two of its members to face charges in New Zealand, even seeking special leave to appeal to the High Court.

"It is unimaginable that an Australian bank, for example, would fight to resist the extradition of one of its managers to New Zealand on fraud charges," Professor Parkinson said in a statement to the commission.