Cardinal's legal team objects to prosecutor’s response

Cardinal George Pell arrives at the County Court in Melbourne in February (CNS/Daniel Pockett, AAP images via Reuters)

Cardinal George Pell’s legal team has accused the state’s top prosecutor of failing to properly respond to his High Court appeal bid. Source: Herald Sun.

Cardinal Pell is fighting to overturn his convictions for the abuse of two choirboys and has lodged an application with the High Court seeking special leave to appeal.

He has argued the Victorian Court of Appeal was wrong to dismiss his appeal in a 2-1 majority decision.

Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd, QC, last week responded to his application arguing there was no basis for a High Court challenge.

In her summary of argument Ms Judd submitted there was “no error” in the approach taken by the Court of Appeal.

But in Cardinal Pell’s response, filed with the court late on Monday, his legal team say Ms Judd “has not engaged with the fundamental legal error” in the Cardinal's application.

It further submits Ms Judd “mischaracterises (Cardinal Pell’s) complaints as assertions of factual as opposed to legal error”.

The five-page response also accuses the DPP of dealing with topics “in a non-responsive and incomplete manner”, and distracting from the proper focus of the majority’s reasoning.

Cardinal Pell is serving a minimum three years and eight-months jail term for the abuse of two choir boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the mid-1990s.

His lawyers have argued that:

1. The majority of the Court of Appeal erred by finding their belief in the complainant required Pell’s team to establish the offending was impossible in order to raise and leave a doubt.

2. The majority erred in not finding the guilty verdicts unreasonable because there remained a reasonable doubt as to the existence of any opportunity for the offending to have occurred.

They instead argue that dissenting appeal justice Mark Weinberg correctly found the case couldn’t be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Cardinal Pell has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. One of his key defences was that as Archbishop he was never left alone inside the Cathedral. His master of ceremonies, Msgr Charles Portelli, gave alibi evidence for the Cardinal at trial, which Ms Judd told the High Court was “inherently weak”.

But Cardinal Pell’s lawyers have argued “the alibi was not, on proper application of the law, anywhere near eliminated.”


George Pell’s legal team accuses top prosecutor of improper response to appeal bid (Herald Sun)


George Pell’s legal team releases response to prosecutor (The Australian)

George Pell's lawyers accuse prosecutors of 'mischaracterising' cardinal's appeal (The Guardian)

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