Victims outraged clergy can give evidence in private.

ASHLEY HALL: Victim support groups are outraged that senior members of the Catholic Church will be able to give evidence in private to the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into sexual abuse investigations in the Hunter Valley.

That privilege is normally only extended to victims of abuse.

But the Commissioner, Margaret Cunneen, has ruled that private hearings are appropriate because of the potential for criminal charges to be laid in the future.

Here's Eliza Harvey.



ELIZA HARVEY: Catholic priests Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher were notorious paedophiles.

Both abused scores of children across Australia.

But now a New South Wales inquiry with the powers of a Royal Commission is investigating their crimes in the state's Hunter region.

Specifically, Margaret Cunneen QC is investigating whether the Catholic Church and the NSW Police Force hindered the investigation into their crimes.

Scores of high-ranking police gave evidence at public hearings...

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