Cardinal George Pell’s case will return to court today as he appeals his conviction for sexually abusing two Melbourne choirboys. Source: 9 News/ABC.
Cardinal Pell, 77, the former archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, and formerly a senior Vatican official, is serving a six-year jail term, with a minimum of three years and eight months, for sexually abusing two choirboys when he was archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
Last December, a jury found him guilty of abusing the boys at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral after a Sunday Mass in 1996, and then abusing one of the boys a second time several months later.
Cardinal Pell pleaded not guilty at trial, but was convicted of one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four counts of committing an indecent act with a child.
The appeal will take place in the Supreme Court in Melbourne today and tomorrow from 9.30am.
His lawyers will first seek leave to appeal and if granted the case will be heard over the two days.
The case will be heard by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Justice Anne Ferguson, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Chris Maxwell, and Justice Mark Weinberg.
The case can be reported on and a live stream will be also hosted on the Supreme Court’s website.
Cardinal Pell’s legal team cited three reasons for its appeal.
Their first claim is that the jury reached “unreasonable” verdicts based on the evidence.
Secondly, the defence says Judge Peter Kidd erred by not allowing a 19-minute video reconstruction to be played to the jury which claimed to show where people would have been in the cathedral at the time of the abuse.
The final claim for appeal is that Cardinal Pell was not arraigned in front of the jury in what was a “fundamental irregularity in the trial process”.
The video and arraignment arguments are technicalities and could see a retrial if they are upheld.
If the “unreasonable verdict” claim is upheld, the cardinal’s conviction would likely be overturned and he would be released from custody.
All you need to know about George Pell's appeal (The Courier/The Age)
Appeal judges tour Pell crime site (The Australian)