The Catholic Church and Christian Brothers fought a class action by abuse victims from WA orphanages at every turn, using their strong legal position to open settlement negotiations with the offer that the men pay their costs.
Slater and Gordon lawyer Hayden Stephens has told the royal commission public hearing in Perth this morning of the uphill battle faced by hundreds of men who signed retainers for the national law firm to take on the class action.
Mr Stephens said while a trust of $3.5 million was eventually settled in 1996 after a three-year legal stoush, the Christian Brothers made it clear from the outset that under no circumstances would any agreement be seen to be a payment of compensation to victims.
"Although this amount does not fairly reflect the suffering that these men suffered and experienced at these institutions, it was the best we could achieve," Mr Hayden told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
A former Christian Brothers student has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse his abusers acted with impunity, safe in the knowledge the authorities would do nothing.
Young boys at four WA Christian Brothers homes were repeatedly raped and brutally beaten when they reported the abuse, which often led to perpetrators being removed and simply replaced with another brother who would inflict more sexual assaults.
John Hennessey spoke at first public hearing in Perth of the royal commission, saying the men who abused him during his time at St Joseph’s Farm and Trade School in Bindoon felt safe in doing so.
“I was exploited and abused by criminals (who were) safe in the knowledge that the State Government and church were my legal guardians, and would never bother to meet their responsibilities,“ he said.
KUALA LUMPUR: Hudud cannot exist alongside secular criminal law and has no place in multiracial Malaysia, said MIC.
Its legal adviser Selva Mookiah said that hudud would create conflicts with the country’s secular criminal law system and the Federal Constitution.
“The Kelantan MPs will of course score vital points among the conservatives by proposing a hudud system to govern the Muslims but they should at least stop to ponder what happens when the two systems collide,” Selva said in a statement.
Citing recent “conversion, divorce, custody care and control of minors debacles”, he said there were many reasons why the hudud and secular criminal law systems would fail to exist parallel to each other.