The Victorian director of public prosecutions says Cardinal George Pell’s High Court appeal ignores, overstates and misstates evidence and ought to be rejected. Source: The Weekend Australian.
By Tessa Akerman, The Weekend Australian
Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd’s submissions to the High Court were released on Friday.
A strong part of the cardinal’s application to appeal his conviction of sexually abusing two children related to the credibility of the sole surviving victim and inconsistencies between his testimony and that of other witnesses.
Cardinal Pell appealed his conviction to the Victorian Court of Appeal, which held a two-day hearing in June last year and rejected his appeal in a majority 2-1 decision.
Ms Judd said the cardinal’s legal team had focused on the Court of Appeal majority’s “belief” in the victim.
“(Cardinal Pell’s legal team) disregards an important aspect of the majority’s assessment of (the victim’s) credibility and reliability: that undisputed facts regarding the applicant’s use of the priests’ sacristy (at St Patrick’s Cathedral) and the layout of the priests’ sacristy provided independent support for (the victim’s) account,” Ms Judd said.
She said the majority “reviewed the whole of the evidence” and assessed the victim’s credibility and reliability in several contexts, including consistencies and inconsistencies between his account and other evidence, the defence contention that his story was inherently improbable and the defence contention that it was factually impossible for the offending to have occurred as alleged.
Ms Judd said Cardinal Pell’s submission “ignores” and “glosses over evidence supportive” of the victim’s account such as his description of the priests’ sacristy where the abuse occurred.
She said the classification of evidence from Church figures as “alibi evidence” also overstates their evidence.
Pell’s legal team needs to file a reply to the prosecution submissions by February 26.
A hearing will be held before the full court in March.
George Pell team ignores evidence, says DPP (The Australian)
Legal errors blamed for George Pell convictions (The Australian)
Cardinal Pell Uses Time Well in Prison While Awaiting Final Appeal Decision (National Catholic Register)