1. “A cruel insult”. Former PM Tony Abbott criticised for his prison visit to George Pell.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has visited convicted pedophile George Pell in prison, where he is being held on child sex convictions.
Mr Abbott told Seven News he was “simply visiting a friend” after he was spotted leaving the Melbourne Assessment Prison on Monday.
Pell – who in December last year was jailed for six years for sexually assaulting two choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral while he was Archbishop of Melbourne – is being held at the prison.
Former Victorian senator Derryn Hinch says the visit is a “cruel insult” to those sexually assaulted by Pell.
“For Tony Abbott, a former prime minister, to visit Pell, a convicted pedophile, is a disgrace and a cruel insult to his victims,” he wrote on Twitter.
— Brendan Donohoe (@BrendanDonohoe7) December 2, 2019
Mr Abbott phoned Pell after his guilty verdict was handed down and is one of the disgraced cardinal’s many high-profile supporters.
Former prime minister John Howard wrote a character reference for Pell after he was convicted for child sex abuse.
When asked by 2GB journalist Ben Fordham in February if he would reconsider his support of Pell following his conviction, Abbott said he would wait to see what the appeal court finds.
“Well he’s been found guilty by a court of a horrible crime, an absolutely horrible crime,” he said.
“Let’s see what the appeal court finds. It’s a shocking and devastating result.”
Australia’s highest court has agreed to refer Pell’s case to the full bench of the High Court to hear appeal arguments.
That hearing won’t be held until at least March next year.
2. Vigil held for victims of London terror attack.
The girlfriend of London Bridge terror victim Jack Merritt broke down in tears as she attended a vigil in his memory in Cambridge.