BRIERLEY SHOCK

The awful news re Ron Brierley kept incoming calls going to midnight, Aussies forgetting the 2-hour time difference.

What to say? Frankly everyone is speechless.

The crime is horrendous and I don’t make light of it, but it’s also a terrible denouement to a unique individual’s career.

It will doubtless surprise but I felt the same re George Pell. I loathe religion and specially his brand and disliked him intensely when he was the top dog in Sydney, for his unabashed arrogance. But, like many others who hold similar views I’m deeply uncomfortable about his conviction. It’s based substantially on hearsay and a single, apparently impressive witness.

Two women journalists have written books on Pell in the last year. A fortnight back I read the latest. What was clear was she set out from the beginning to nail him. In my view she failed and I’m picking he will win his final appeal.

Ron however, is undoubtably doomed. We were great friends in the 1960s and 70s but grew apart in the mid-80s share market heyday.

I’ve seen him once in the last 25 years when I ran across him in London, but I’m on his ‘birthday’ list. That is he writes annually to me on my birthday with a clearly personal letter, reminiscing about past humorous incidents and such-like. Replying elicits no further response.

One Comment

Sir Ron appears to be headed down the Rolf Harris path but as his charges (to date) do not relate to directly harming others, he may not face jail and instead be padding around his Point Piper gilded cage wearing an electronic ankle bracelet or such-like for a few years, his knighthood stripped and his reputation in tatters. The Australian judiciary has many quirks and one of these is when there is a general perception of guilt for crimes that have not or cannot be brought before the courts, when they find something they can finally pin on you, they throw the book at you. George Pell who supposedly covered up pedophile priests and capped compensation for victims is one example and the late corpulent stockbroker Rene Rivkin who allegedly used a Swiss bank as a “deus ex machina” to boost the price of shares he spruiked in his newsletter is another. Some would see this as judicial abuse while others would see it as justice being served. I’m just glad that Sir Ron’s supposed one-time fiancee Carmen is no longer around to see his fall from grace.

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