Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in prison for historical child sexual abuse crimes, with the judge admitting the cardinal “may not live to be released from prison”. Source: News.com.au.
“Facing jail at your age in these circumstances must be an awful state of affairs for you,” Chief Judge Peter Kidd told the County Court of Melbourne today.
Cardinal Pell, who had already spent 14 days in jail ahead of his pre-sentencing, was sentenced to six years for the crimes, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months.
In handing down his sentence, Judge Kidd ran through the submissions from Cardinal Pell’s counsel relating to the difficult time the Cardinal would undoubtedly have in prison.
“Life in prison will be more onerous for you than other prisoners in the general population and indeed other sexual offenders because of your notoriety and the animosity to which you are likely to be exposed,” Judge Kidd said, referring to submissions from Cardinal Pell’s defence.
In an affidavit, the Assistant Commissioner of Corrections Victoria admitted the level of risk to Cardinal Pell was assessed as “immediate risk of serious threat”.
Corrections Victoria said after some time Cardinal Pell “may” be able to interact with “a limited number of heavily vetted prisoners”.
“I emphasise the term — the use of the term ‘may’,” Judge Kidd said.
The prosecution accepted that, at first, Cardinal Pell’s time in prison would be “more burdensome than that of other prisoners”.
“The prosecution went on to contend, however, that your future custody classification and conditions are unknown and are therefore speculative,” Judge Kidd added.
Cardinal Pell will be classified as a high-profile prisoner when he goes to jail and has already been given protection status, according to the affidavit submitted by Corrections Victoria.
The affidavit also highlighted that conditions for protected and high-profile prisoners no longer differ as much as they used to in Victorian prisons.
“The affidavit also highlights that the conditions of persons with protection status at various different prisons are no longer significantly more restricted than those within the mainstream prison populations,” Judge Kidd said.
Despite that, Judge Kidd rejected the Crown’s submission that Pell’s experience in prison would be like any other person in protective custody.
Choirboy welcomes sentence, says Pell’s appeal still hangs over him (Canberra Times)
Cardinal Pell sentenced (The Southern Cross)
George Pell jailed for six years on child sex abuse offences (The Australian)
Cardinal may serve whole term in solitary (The Australian)
Andrew Bolt: I thought Judge Peter Kidd was very fair in Pell’s sentencing (Sky News Australia)