No Smith Apology for Alleged Abuse Victim

May 2, 2012

Greg Smith says he would never disparage an alleged sex assault victim, but he's avoiding apologising over comments related to the case of Finian Egan.

NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith has declined to apologise to the alleged abuse victim of a retired Catholic priest after accusing her of "trying to get $1 million from the church".

Father Finian Egan, 77, was on Tuesday charged with a raft of child sexual offences dating back to the 1970s.

He is a personal friend of Mr Smith.

On Wednesday Father Chris Riley confirmed he was the priest told by Mr Smith last July that the alleged victim, Nikki Wells, was only seeking money from the Catholic Church.

"He was quoting a church official and that's when I asked him if he'd like to hear her story," Father Riley told News Ltd.

The allegations first surfaced at the beginning of April, when an email from a then unnamed Catholic priest to Ms Wells, which passed on details of the conversation, was obtained by ABC's 7.30 program.

In question time Mr Smith was asked if he would apologise to Ms Wells, following Father Riley's confirmation of the conversation.

Mr Smith said it would be inappropriate to comment on the case and added: "I have nothing to add other than to repeat what I've said elsewhere, that I would never be disparaging of alleged victims of sexual assault".

Asked if he was suggesting Father Riley was lying, Mr Smith said, "I don't think you heard my last answer".

"I remind you that there is a court process that's been commenced and it is not appropriate for this house to be debating that court process," Mr Smith said.








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