Cardinal George Pell faces spending more than three months in jail before he can appeal against his conviction for sexually abusing two choirboys. Source: The Age.
June 5 and 6 have been set down as the days the cardinal can challenge his conviction in the state’s highest court. The appeal, likely to be heard by three judges, will be heard days before Cardinal Pell’s 78th birthday.
The Court of Appeal will hear Cardinal Pell’s application for leave to appeal and, if it grants that first hurdle, the appeal itself. It could be weeks later that the Court of Appeal judges return to announce whether the challenge is successful.
Sydney silk and appeal expert Bret Walker SC will spearhead the appeal after Robert Richter QC confirmed on Tuesday he would not be directly involved, partly because he was too emotionally involved in the case and angry at the guilty verdict.
Mr Richter said he did not have “sufficient objectivity at this stage” to participate in the appeal. “I am very angry about the verdict,” he said, “because it was perverse.”
However, Mr Richter has denied he “quit” the legal team, and said if need be, he was available to be consulted.
Mr Richter said Cardinal Pell, who has been convicted of five counts of sexually assaulting two choirboys in 1996 and 1997, would be “better served by someone more detached”.
“I think the man is an innocent man and he’s been convicted. It’s not a common experience,” he said.
A County Court jury in December found Cardinal Pell guilty of one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four of committing an indecent act, with or in the presence of a child under 16. Those verdicts came in a retrial, after a first jury was discharged after it was unable to reach a verdict.