Abuse hearings end: ‘I’m done’

The Australian

April 1, 2017

Crime reporterSydney

The final witness to give evidence to the child abuse royal commission said he felt “wrung out” after stepping down from the witness box yesterday, four years after the national inquiry began.

Steve Smith, who was sexually abused by an Anglican priest ­between the ages of 10 and 15, wiped away tears as both he and the six commissioners were ­applauded at the end of its 57th and final public hearing.

“I’m done,” Mr Smith said after the hearing. “I’ve been through the criminal justice system. He (the abuser) is dead. I’ve been to the highest legal auth­ority — the royal commission. I gave the last evidence. It’s over.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Smith, who is one of more than 1200 witnesses to give evidence during 400 days of public hearings, thanked the commission “for the opportunity to be able to finally have my voice heard”.

“We should never again find ourselves in this situation where generations have been devastated and lives have been lost due to the indifference and self-serving attitudes of institutions in this country,” he said.

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