Bishop Roger Herft, former Archbishop of Perth, spent $473,000 for his legal fees without proper authorization. The funds were drawn from the diocese’s professional standards budget but without written authorization by the Perth Diocesan Council.

Perth understood that legal expenses would in due course be covered under an insurance claim on the Diocese of Newcastle. This assumption, however, was made without legal advice or approval by the insurers.

Herft, who faces the prospect of being defrocked, resigned after being sharply criticized for his failure to report sexual abuse of children to police. He was Bishop of Newcastle from 1993 to 2005. At a Royal Commission he accepted that his failures left children at risk.

John Martin

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