Press Release from the Royal Humane Society
An Extraordinary General Meeting of the Directors of the Royal Humane Society of Australasia today conducted a case review and has decided to unanimously revoke the Certificate of Merit awarded to Mr Paul McCuskey effective immediately.
On July 25, 2011 the Society’s Certificate of Merit was awarded to Mr Paul McCuskey, along with several other CFA volunteers, for saving the life of an elderly woman at Cambarville during the Black Saturday bushfires.
No mention was made in any of the nomination documentation placed before the Society that Mr McCuskey had been subsequently convicted and had received a jail sentence following an unrelated series of violent domestic assaults on his then partner.
The Society had followed its normal procedures in making the Award. It is an honorary body, recognising acts of bravery by bestowing awards on those who risk their lives in saving, or attempting to save, the lives of others.
In the McCuskey case, its judgement rested purely on what he did on Black Saturday. No other evidence of any kind outside these circumstances was presented, nor was the conviction revealed when a CFA member received the award on behalf of Mr McCuskey.
It was only after the Award was accepted that the Society received a number of informal complaints drawing its attention to Mr McCuskey’s then alleged assaults In an immediate review of the case, and not in possession of any other facts, the Society decided the award should stand.
However subsequently the Society has received extensive evidence regarding Mr McCuskey’s conduct and this has led to the decision to rescind the award.
The Directors strongly affirm their abhorrence of any kind of violence against a fellow human being.
The Royal Humane Society of Australasia Ph: (03) 9650 3233
Background Information: www.rhsa.org.au