Breaking: George Pell has lost his appeal
Disgraced Cardinal George Pell has today lost his appeal to overturn his conviction over child sexual offences against two choirboys.
Pell was found guilty by a jury of molesting two choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the mid-1990s.
The 78-year-old needed three Court of Appeal judges to agree that the jury must have had reasonable doubts for his conviction to be overturned.
In a two-one ruling, judges from Victoria’s Court of Appeal turned down the appeal.
“Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today,” a spokesperson for Pell said in a statement.
“However his legal team will thoroughly examine the judgement in order to determine a special leave application to the High Court.
“While noting the 2-1 split decision, Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence.
“We thank his many supporters.”
Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said there was nothing in the complainants evidence which meant that the jury must have had reasonable doubt about his account.
“Throughout his evidence the complainant came across as someone who was telling the truth,” she said.
“As might have been expected there were some things which he could remember and many which he could not.
“This was a compelling witness, was clearly not a liar, was not a fantasist, and was a witness of truth.”
Pell will return to prison to serve the remainder of his minimum jail term of three years and eight months.
Outside the court, abuse survivors and their supporters celebrated the news.
Survivors of abuse and their supporters react to George Pell’s appeal being dismissed.
— 3AW Melbourne (@3AW693) August 21, 2019
But, it may not be over; Pell or prosecutors have 28 days to challenge today’s decision in the High Court.
“I think he’ll appeal,” Neil Mitchell said.
Press PLAY below to hear Neil Mitchell’s reaction to the news.
Matt Collins QC, President of the Victorian Bar Association, said it would be unusual, but not unheard of, for the High Court to hear the matter.
“Ordinarily the High Court hears matters which involve dispute of questions of law,” he said.
“But the High Court can also look at cases on a broader ground, namely does the interest of justice require that there be one last look at it?
“This is a very unusual case.”
Press PLAY below for more from Matt Collins QC.
(Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images)