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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

New court ruling endangers Cardinal Danneels

Le Quotidien - Belgique/Pédophilie : l'enquête rebondit

A court ruling has revived yesterday the investigation into the pedophile scandal involving the Belgian Church.

The highest court yesterday gave a boost to investigators seeking to determine whether or not the Catholic Church or is not guilty of covering up pedophilia scandals by taking back a decision that had invalidated an important part of the prosecutor's case. In a new twist to this very complex issue, the Court of Cassation quashed the decision of 29 November by the Chamber of Indictment in Brussels, whic had declared null and void seizures made June 24, 2010 at the headquarters of the Church of Belgium, the Archdiocese of Mechelen (north of Brussels), and the home of the former primate of Belgium, Cardinal Godfried Danneels. According to the ruling made last November, all items seized during the searches were being returned to their owners. And all elements of the prosecutors' case based on these articles of evidence should be invalidated. The court ruled that the police operation named "Chalice" was disproportionate. Yesterday, the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court however held that the decision to invalidate the search was not sufficiently justified, as the Church's lawyers had demanded confirmation of the decision. The Supreme Court has finally rendered null the invalidation procedure, said the office of the highest Belgian court, quoted by the Belga news agency, without specifying what aspects of the judgment had been canceled. The Registry, however, said the Chamber of Indictment, composed of different judges, should decide again. Without the documents seized during the spectacular searches , the investigation of pedophilia in the Belgian Church was reduced to a trickle. In June 2010, Operation Chalice was a sensation and caused outrage in the Vatican. It was triggered after the forced resignation two months ago of the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, who admitted to having over a long period of time abused his nephew, a minor in the 1980s.

Cathcon- caveat- Danneels' lawyer is claiming the reverse but seems on an initial read, he is just trying to manoevre in a desperate situation. Of course, whether this affects the long-term outcome depends on the detail of the judgement.

See all here for the background- especially article about Danneels' lawyer going ballistic.
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