A Northern Ireland producer has won a major award for work on a hard-hitting documentary on clerical abuse in Australia.
ial Fulton from Co Fermanagh won a Walkley Award, which recognises excellence in Australian journalism, for “Revelation”.
The groundbreaking ABC series challenged perpetrators head on, interviewing Catholic priest sex offenders and filming criminal trials of priests and brothers accused of sex crimes against children.
Mr Fulton made the series alongside respected investigative journalist Sarah Ferguson.
The Walkley judges said: “This haunting documentary broke new ground on an issue already well covered by the media and investigated by police and the Royal Commission alike.
“The extraordinary access to some of the Catholic Church’s most notorious perpetrators of sexual abuse against children, as well as the insight it gave viewers into court proceedings, showed just how powerful journalistic documentary-making can be.”
Praising his colleague, Mr Fulton said: “No-one but (Sarah Ferguson) could’ve made this series happen and no-one deserves this award more than her. She raised the bar every day. It was and is a privilege to work with the very best in the business.”
Already an award-winning producer of internationally recognised films, Mr Fulton has earned a reputation of being able to put “cameras where access has never before been granted”. This also includes the acclaimed US series “Borderland”.
His previous awards include an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA) and a Walkley for documentary.
Speaking to the Impartial Reporter in June, Mr Fulton spoke about challenging perpetrators on film and managing the risk of giving them a public platform.
“We wanted to do something that no one had ever done before. We wanted to convince a convicted paedophile to go on camera, mindful there is always a real risk of giving people like this a platform on camera. But it hadn’t been done before,” he said.
“We still felt there was something to be said about speaking to these men and there is a justification for doing this because if we don’t understand why they did what they did, we run the risk of it happening again.”
One of the interviews was conducted in a maximum security prison with Bernard McGrath, a former brother from the Order of St John of God and headmaster in residential schools in Australia and New Zealand. He is serving 39 years for crimes against children.