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Graham Ashton hits back at claims police ran a ‘vendetta’ against George Pell

Victoria Police chief Graham Ashton has vigorously defended how the force handled of the George Pell case, laughing off suggestions police ran a “vendetta” against the Cardinal.

Pell was released from prison this week after the High Court overturned a wrongful conviction.

Mr Ashton was asked what he thought of claims Victoria Police was out to “get” Pell as child sex abuse cases continually rocked the Catholic Church.

“What a joke,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“We don’t run vendettas against people, that’s not what we’re about, that’s not why we take an oath.

“We take an oath to serve the community and that means we do it without fear or favour.”

Mr Ashton told Neil Mitchell he respected the decision of the High Court but had no issue with how police had handled the case before charging him.

Meanwhile, the police chief said he had not been asked to extend his time as commissioner and was still planning on finishing up in the role in June, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nobody has spoken to me (about staying on),” Mr Ashton said.

He said he would extend his contract if asked.

“Of course,” he said.

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