‘Terrible choice of phrase’: Robert Richter apologises for ‘plain vanilla’ comment

Morning Herald

February 28, 2019

By Simone Fox Koob

Defence barrister Robert Richter, QC, has apologised for describing acts of sexual abuse carried out by Cardinal George Pell against two choirboys as “no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case”.

The prominent Melbourne-based barrister was heavily criticised after he made the comments during a pre-sentencing hearing on Wednesday for Pell, who has been convicted of sexually abusing two boys in a sacristy after Sunday Mass in 1996.

“After spending a sleepless night reflecting upon the terrible choice of phrase I used in court during the course of a long and stressful process, I offer my sincerest apologies to all who were hurt or offended by it,” Mr Richter said in a statement released on Thursday evening.

“No offence was intended. It was not intended to evade the seriousness of what had been done. The seriousness of the crime was acknowledged at the outset by the concession that merited imprisonment.

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