From day 5 testimony:
Stewart - With regard to confessional privilege which you mention in various places, but, for example, let's look at your paragraph 29.
Toole - Paragraph 29?
Stewart - You'll see in 29(a) you're dealing with South Australia and you say: ... a number of nominated persons in various professions, including ministers of religion ... are required to report ... Then four lines down you say: ... provided that the suspicion is formed in the course of the person's work or in carrying out their official duties with the exception of disclosures made in the confessional. Am I to understand there that, leaving aside the specific wording of the law in question, in South Australia the position is that there is an exception for disclosures made in a confessional setting; is that right?
Toole - Yes.
Stewart - Then in 29(b), in relation to Victoria, equally in the sixth line you say: This obligation does not apply if the belief was obtained in a religious confession.
Toole - That's correct.
Stewart - I think I took you to the paragraph earlier in another document that referred to minister/communicant privilege. It is really that that I'm addressing in the Jehovah's Witness context. You, as I understand it, advise elders on their obligations under these provisions?
Toole - Yes.
Stewart - So you would be involved in advising when this confessional exception is available to them or not?
Toole - For the last 15 years, even if it was a confession, if the authorities approached the elders seeking information, they have completely cooperated. So there's been no claim for confessional privilege at all during that period.
Comments: Notice how slick Vincent Toole is here. If you listen to the actual testimony he certainly makes it sound like the Watchtower has not made any claim for confessional privilege over the past 15 years. Of course that is not true as can be verified in another pedophile case being tried right now in Delaware. Link:
Here we find another Watchtower attorney arguing FOR confessional privilege in a US court at almost the same time V. Toole is arguing that they have not used it for 15 years. At first glance it seems like he is caught in perjury. Where he was slick was by qualifying his statement with “if the authorities approached the elders seeking information”
So in the Delaware case you have a 35 yr old sister who what having sex with a 14 yr old boy. The elders did not tell the police and are claiming confidentiality of a church confessional. But IF the police come to them with questions they will answer them. Of course the police may never find out since they apply privilege in the first place.
If anyone has a direct connection to Angus Stewart he may want to see the article from the Washington Post. After all it is a live case in the news right now and does seem to at least throw Mr Tooles testimony into a different light.