|Bishop Newell and his wife Merle|
A royal commission in Hobart has heard evidence that Christopher Newell, son of Bishop Phillip Newell, made a joking reference to Louis Daniels inappropriate behaviour towards children in the Church of England Boys Society (CEBS)
Catherine Hutchinson said Christopher, then her boyfriend, said words to the effect that when Louis Daniels was on camping trips “CEBS boys have sore bottoms”.
Christopher had been involved in CEBS around the time.
Mrs Hutchinson said it occurred about 1984 in the presence of Christopher’s family including Bishop Newell who told the boys to “hush”.
Bishop Newell, who was head of Tasmania’s Anglican Diocese at the time, denied the account when he appeared at the Royal Commission this week.
The evidence goes to whether Bishop Newell was aware of rumours or allegations about Daniels’ behaviour prior to 1987 which he has denied.
The commission had heard that Mrs Hutchinson was a strong supporter of a choir leader dismissed by the bishop 30 years ago but she denied she was ever on bad terms with the family.
Today Michael Newell, brother of Christopher who is now dead, categorically denied the comments had ever been made or that he was giving evidence to protect his father.
He said his brother and Mrs Hutchinson split under terms that were “not amicable”.
Dr Newell said the comments were completely out of character for his brother who went on to become a renowned bioethicist despite having a lung disability.
“He always fought for people who had a small voice or no voice,” an agitated Dr Newell said.
“I was rather offended when I heard that these words had been put in the mouth of my dead brother who was not here ... to defend himself.”
Christopher’s other brother, John Newell, also denied the words were ever said in his presence as has Bishop Newell’s wife.
The brothers appeared today at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse via live feed from overseas.
Daniels was jailed in the late 90s and mid 2000s for a raft of historical child abuse offences.
So, I wonder who has the most incentive to lie? One would think a high ranking Bishop would never lie, but the commission has seen that such is not necessarily the case. A genuine Christian who has sinned, such as enabling a pedophile priest, ought to be truly repentant and prepared to accept whatever consequences are liable to come. If he doesn't in this life, he sure as Hell will in the next. I'm not saying the Bishop is lying, only that if he is, he will pay sooner or later.