Paedophile Christian Brother Robert Best has lost an appeal
against his convictions for abusing a schoolboy in the 1970s.
Best, 71, was jailed last year for a minimum 11 years and
three months for sexually abusing young boys during a 20-year
period at three schools.
Victoria's appeals court today rejected his appeal on seven
of his convictions for indecently assaulting a schoolboy
between 1971-74 while Best was principal of St Alipius
Primary School in East Ballarat, when the pupil was aged
between eight and 11.
In their unanimous judgment, Justices Chris Maxwell, Pamela
Tate and Robert Osborn found Best failed to show a
miscarriage of justice had occurred during his trial.
Best's defence argued the crown relied entirely on the
account of the victim, whose memory was unreliable and
tainted by flashbacks.
The defence said the victim's testimony varied in terms of
dates, places and identities of others he claimed were there
during some of the offences.
But Justice Osborn said the defence failed to show any fault
with how the trial was run.
"The complainant's evidence comprised a coherent and credible
account of the offending," Justice Osborn wrote in the
He was also not persuaded by the defence argument that
failure to call the victim's mother to testify caused a
miscarriage of justice.
"The evidentiary concerns raised on behalf of the appellant
do not persuade me either individually or in combination that
the jury's verdict was unsafe or unsatisfactory," he said.
Best was found guilty at trial of 21 charges, including the
rape of a nine-year-old disabled boy, and later pleaded
guilty to a further six.
All 27 charges related to 11 boys he taught at St Alipius
primary school in Ballarat, St Leo's College in Box Hill, and
St Joseph's College in Geelong between 1969 and 1988.
The Christian Brothers have not expelled Best, and are
believed to have spent in excess of $1 million defending him
in court, although they did not fund his appeal.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a royal commission
into institutional responses to allegations of child sex
abuse in Australia, as Victoria pursues its own parliamentary