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Live coverage: Day five of the Newcastle child sexual abuse royal commission

Defrocked Anglican Dean of Newcastle Graeme Lawrence will now give evidence to the public hearing in Newcastle.AS IT HAPPENED: Royal Commission day oneAS IT HAPPENED: Royal Commission day twoAS IT HAPPENED: Royal Commission day threeAS IT HAPPENED: Royal Commission day fourMONDAY, AUGUST 84.25pm
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Day five wrap up:The Royal Commission has today heard sensational evidence about a secret filing system of “brown envelopes” used in the Newcastle Anglican church under former Bishop Roger HerftKeith Allen, solicitor and former trustee of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle has admitted tearing up the original 1990 resignation of paedophile priest Stephen Hatley Gray, which was then replaced with one dated the day before Gray was charged with the sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy.The commission heard that Keith Allen thought brought lamingtons to a meeting to discuss the facts relating to Stephen Gray where he was said to have had sex with an underage male on top of a table of lamingtons. Allen denied this.Ian Kirkwood and Joanne McCarthy wrap up today’s hearing in three minutes.

4.20pm

The royal commission has finished hearing evidence on Monday August 8 –the fifth day of evidence.Keith Allen will continue giving evidence tomorrow.

Barrister Lachlan Gyles, SC, questions Keith Allen for Bishop Greg Thompson4.00pm

Gyles: “You wrote to Bishop Thomspon and said to him, ‘I propose to stand for any position for which I am nominated in the parish of Terrigal’, didn’t you?”

Allen: “Yes.”

This was despite Bishop Thompson writing to him terminating his positions.

Gyles: “Would you agree with me that the primary role of the church is to provide emotional and pastoral support to parishioners?”

Allen: “It’s probably one of the roles.”

Gyles: “Well, isn’t that what it’sabout in the end?’”

Allen: “There is the proclamation of the Gospel.”

Barrister Lachlan Gyles, SC

Gyles: “When you met with Bishop Thompson in 2015 he was extremely concenred about you having acted for diocesan priests in criminal matters concerning alleged sexual abuse of parishioners?”

Allen: “He raised the issue.”

Gyles: “And you said to him that you were able to compartmentalise, didn’t you?

Allen: “I may have said that and I may not, but I held the –yes.”

Allen explained it as “My professional practice had nothing to conflict with the church and there was no preclusion on any of the positions I held to prevent me from practising.”

Gyles is questioning Allen about the committal of priest CKC.

Gyles: “You would accept, wouldn’t you, that in such cases, for example in respect of the CKA and CKB complaints, that in order to discharge your ethical obligations to your client, namely CKC, that you needed to cast as much doubt as possible on the credibility of the complainants and the evidence that they were giving in those cases, that’s right, isn’t it?”

Allen: “The role of the lawyers acting for an accused person is to put the accused person’s position as strong as possible and to, I believe, cross examine witnesses and conduct the matter in accordance with the rules.”

Gyles: “As a member of the diocesan council at that time, your obligation was to assist the bishop to bring about the fundamental charter of the church, which is to provide pastoral and emotional support for vulnerable people?”

Allen: “Yes.”

Gyles: “Can I suggest to you that your conduct in taking instructions and acting in the defence of CKc was diametrically opposed to the obligations and responsibilities you had as a member of the diocesan council at the time?”

Allen: “I didn’t hold or consider any view at the time of the proceedings.”

Gyles: “What I am suggesting to you, Mr Allen, is that the signal of you in that case to the person who had come forward which was the church was challenging what he was saying?”

Allen gave a confusing reply. McClellan stepped in and said as a leading figure, Allen was sending a message to child sexual abuse victims that they were lying.

Former Newcastle Anglican diocese trustee Keith Allen gives evidence2.14pm

The hearing resumes for the Monday afternoon session, with Justice Peter McClellan presiding.

Counselassisting Naomi Sharp has resumed questioning Keith Allen.

He is being questioned about a file note by diocese business manager John Cleary after a meeting on March 26, 2015 between Allen, Cleary and Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson.

Sharp: “Cleary record you saying that the biggest concern in the Newcastle diocese was Bishop Roger Herft. He indicated that Herft will be in trouble. This was mainly because of Herft’s handling of the Brown envelopes through Herft’s Brown envelope advisory/review committee”.

Allen:”There were a number of brown envelopes that I think were held by Mitchell …by way of example, they may be improper conduct. They may be criminal offences, they may be stealing….”

Justice Peter McClellan: “Was it under Bishop Herft’s management that the brown paper envelopes first started to be created?”

Picture: Jeremy Piper

Allen: “I think so sir.”

McClellan: “I take it the diocese holds other files apart from brown paper envelopes.

Allen: “I would expect so.”

McClellan: “So do I understand the brown paper envelopes were created as a separate, more secret filing system?”

Allen: “Yes.”

McClellan: “So an allegation that a priest had sexually assaulted a child could be in the Brown envelope, is that right?”

Allen: “There would be information in the brown envelope.”

McClellan: “And that you would advise the bishop that shouldgo to the police?”

Allen: “I think, from memory, certainly on one occasion…that that was the advice that the matter should be taken….

McClellan: “Did you write down the name of the person who was said to have been complained about on that one occasion?”

Allen:” I don’t think I can remember the person’s name.”

McClellan: “How many brown envelopes did you see in your time?”

Allen: “20”.

McClellan has just asked Allen about whether he was aware of concerns the royal commission had not been given all of the information from the diocese, including possibly material in the brown envelopes.

Naomi Sharp: “It was your opinion Herft may well be in trouble about these brown envelopes?”

Allen: “Yes.”

Sharp: “Why?”

McClellan is now questioning Allen about why Herft would be involved in a matter as late as march 2015, and Allen has said the problem is probably also with Bishop Farran.

McClellan: “Well what did you have in mind? What was the problem.”

Allen: “The issues didn’t seem to go anywhere.”

McClellan has asked Allen about a conversation he had with Bishop Greg Thompson.

Thompson wrote to Allen on March 9, 2015 and said: “As one of the few continuing serving members of the diocese from that period you are in a good position to assist me to understand the way professional standards matters were handled prior to the establishment of the professional standards ordinance in 2005. You outlined to me a small number of church officials who would meet to advise the bishop on managing misconduct in the diocese. You referred to these as the sealed brown envelopes that were held in the bishop’s office.

Counsel assisting Naomi Sharp.

“I understand from our conversation that you may have records and notes of your assistance to various bishops that would be of great assistance. You had said to me at the recent general synod in June 2014 in Adelaide that you had more files on matters of our diocese which were not in diocesan files and matters of which I am not aware.”

John Cleary’s file note of themeeting between Mr Cleary, Mr Allen and Bishop Thompson includes that “Holland’s standard approach was the ‘do nothing approach’” when it came to child sexual abuse allegations to the diocese.

Sharp: “Why did you hold the opinion that Holland’s standard approach was the ‘do nothing approach’?”

Allen: “That was probably a reflection of the times in that Holland dealt with the matters, any matterspersonally, himself, without any publication or discussion.”

File note of Newcastle Anglican business manager John Cleary Claims exposure risk was the only concern.Disciplining the priest was ‘never on the radar in discussions’.If it was on the radar, Herft would say that ‘it was my domain to discipline clergy and not theirs’Herft only ever reported one matter to the police. That being the matter of Peter Mitchell defrauding the diocese.”That suggests that you were suggesting that there be some attempt to mislead the commission, doesn’t it?

Justice Peter McClellanI don’t, I would never want to mislead the commission.

Solicitor Keith Allen You thought it would be funny to bring lamingtons to a meeting to discuss the facts relating to Gray where he was said to have had sex with an underage male on top of a table of lamingtons.

Justice Peter McClellan I don’t know. I can’t remember. That’s a long time ago.

Solicitor Keith AllenAs distressing coverage continues into the #CARoyalComm, ReachOut as support is there via @CARoyalCommpic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/uanmu4V1qP

— Mindframe (@MindframeMedia) August 4, 2016I had neither a biro, a pencil, a rubber or any other thing and I just merely looked at the register on the table.

Solicitor Keith Allen I didn`t alter or touch the register.

Solicitor Keith Allen You are aware of allegations that this register has been tampered with, aren’t you?

Counsel assisting Naomi SharpDid you in any way tamper with this document?

Naomi SharpNo.

Solicitor Keith Allen”One of them said: ‘Yeah, it’s funny how those documents went missing’, and then one of them sniggered”.

Newcastle Anglican official Tim MawsonHave you ever suggested to Bishop Holland that he ought not remember things if questioned by the royal commission?

Counsel assisting Naomi SharpNo

Keith AllenYou were party to the circumstances in which the false document was created, weren’t you?

Royal Commission chair Justice Peter McClellanYes, I certainly destroyed the first resignation.

Solicitor and former Anglican diocese trustee Keith Allen​Monday, August 810.00am

Welcome to day fiveof theRoyal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in the Newcastle Anglican diocese. Joanne McCarthy will continue the live blog from the commission, with Ian Kirkwood and Joanne McCarthy publishing stories throughout the day.

You can follow and get involved with the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #shinethelight.

Day four wrap upBishop Appleby continued to give evidence, where he continued to say he was unaware of the child sexual abuse allegations during his time in the dioceses.A 32-year-old man (CKU) abused as a minor by trainee priest Ian Barrackhas told the royal commissionof the way the man groomed him and convinced his mother to trust him.The mother of CKU, CKR gave evidence relating to the abuse of her son by trainee priest Ian Barrack.Solicitor KeithAllen wasquestioned about an amendment to his statement so that it saidStephen Hatley Gray resigned on February 16 1990 and not an earlier date. Former Newcastle Anglican Bishop Brian Farran will be questioned this week at the royal commission.

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