The joy of commissions, royal or otherwise. In a place where the rules of evidence don't get in the way of finding the truth, a good commissioner or counsel assisting can really fire up the proceedings.
And commissioner Peter McClellan with counsel assisting Gail Furness, at the royal commission into child sex abuse, are on fire.
Over this week there has been a spellbinding display of the moral vacuum at the heart of two mighty institutions - the Catholic Church and the law.
Cardinal George Pell slithered all over the place as he was questioned about the church's conduct in the infamous Ellis case. Everyone else was to blame, his lawyers, his private secretary, the unreasonableness of his litigation opponents.
Because the damage done to victims of child sexual abuse is not necessarily manifest immediately, John Ellis had to apply for an extension to the limitation period so as to bring his civil claim against the church.
It was at this point that a decision was made to defend his claim "vigorously ... strenuously".
This was after the church and its lawyers knew, "arguably beyond a reasonable doubt", that Ellis as an altar boy had been abused by Father Aidan Duggan. The truth had been confirmed by the church's own assessor, Michael Eccleston.
But who made the decision to put Ellis through the cross-examination shredder, contesting that he was abused at all?
Was that the product of legal advice or instructions to lawyers from Pell, who had his fingerprints all over the case?
Pell claims it was all down to the lawyers. As to the cross-examination of Ellis, he said "it was wrong that it went to such an extent. I was told it was a legally proper tactic, strategy".
This was after he said he thought the lawyers had done "nothing inappropriate".
The lawyers said, in that time-honoured incantation of the profession, "we were acting on instructions".
McClelland was unrelenting in his examination of two solicitors for the church from the high-end law shop Corrs Chambers Westgarth - Paul McCann and John Dalzell.
We've had plenty of exposure to McCann already, because he has been Gina Rinehart's lawyer, particularly in the battle with her children over the family trust.
Here's the transcript, with McClelland closing in on McCann:
Q. How do you justify vigorously defending a limitation action in the event that the client accepts that the acts, which might otherwise have been in dispute, are not in dispute?
A. Well, my instructions were that ...
Q. No, I'm talking about you, in your mind?
A. Your Honour, I see myself as a lawyer.
Q. Precisely ...
Q. It wasn't necessary to put in issue, as was done, whether or not it happened?
A. Look, I concede that.
A. I concede that.
Q. Again, I ask you, you do understand, don't you, how extremely hurtful to someone ...
Q. ... such a tactical exercise in litigation could be?
A. Yes, I can see that, but, as I say, the hands of that trial were with senior counsel, but I accept that I was relevantly the instructing partner.
Q. The course taken should never have happened, should it?
Q. The course that was taken in that respect should never have happened, should it?
A. Well, I think it's only a portion of the cross-examination.
Q. Nevertheless, it's a fundamental challenge to Mr Ellis, and it shouldn't have happened, should it?
A. On reflection, probably not.
There it was. Trying to tear Ellis' legs off in court, when his attackers knew the truth of his claim, should never have happened. Notice how McCann momentarily tried to palm it off to the barristers.
It was worse when Dalzell was in the box.
Q. ... You knew that Mr Eccleston had determined that Mr Ellis was telling the truth, didn't you?
A. I did know that, your Honour, yes.
Q. And you knew that your client had nothing to the contrary of that proposition?
A. That's correct, your Honour.
Q. You sat there while your counsel put in issue whether or not Mr Ellis was telling the truth about having been abused; that's the position, isn't it?
A. It is, your Honour, yes.
Q. Can you explain how ethically you could sit there and do that? ...
A. Your Honour, I did know that, and my memory from it is that - you're asking about my ethics, your Honour, and I say this ...
Q. I am. I'm putting squarely in issue how it can be that a solicitor, who has an obligation to the court not to do anything that could mislead in any way ...
A. I'm aware of that, your Honour.
Q. ... can sit behind counsel and allow this to happen?
A moment when a lawyer couldn't hide behind the skirts of the client's instructions. It's positively cringeworthy.
No doubt everyone's full of regrets. They particularly regret getting caught.