Special Commission of Inquiry findings delivered, video

Newcastle Herald

[with video]

By JASON GORDON May 30, 2014

A Special Commission of Inquiry into the alleged cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Hunter Region has determined that several senior Catholic clergy deliberately mislead investigations and were unreliable, unsatisfactory and untruthful witnesses.

It has also determined that the police detective who instigated the commission had ‘‘exaggerated’’ evidence, had been ‘‘deliberately untruthful’’, illegally shared sensitive information with a journalist and had developed an ‘‘obsession about the Catholic church and alleged conspiracies involving senior police’’.

Commissioner Margaret Cunneen SC on Friday handed her long-awaited report to the NSW Governor. Three of four volumes have today been made public, with the fourth remaining confidential.

The Newcastle Herald understands that the confidential volume contains findings that may lead to criminal charges being laid against a senior Catholic church official.

Of the confidential file now in the hands of the government, Ms Cunneen reports: ‘‘Significant matters relating to (the crimes of Father James) Fletcher are dealt with in the confidential volume of this report in order to protect potential future criminal proceedings.

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