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George Pell given one final chance to clear his name

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Cardinal George Pell could apply for bail as early as today after being given a final chance to appeal his convictions for historic child sex abuse.

Once Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, he was last year sentenced to six years jail for abusing two boys in the late 1990s.

He has always maintained his innocence.

Today, the High Court deferred its decision on whether to allow George Pell to appeal his child sex convictions.

The decision has been referred to a full bench of the court. If the court grants Pell leave to appeal, his full appeal case will be heard at the same time.

Minutes after the decision came down, Professor Jeremy Gans from Melbourne Law School spoke to Neil Mitchell.

“Pell still has a chance to clear his name … this could have been the end of his road, but it isn’t now,” he said.

“We won’t know until the middle of next year what happens with his case.”

Mr Gans says he could ask for bail immediately.

“It’s not common, but his health and the relative shortness of his sentence makes it possible,” he said.

Lisa Flynn, the lawyer representing the father of the George Pell’s deceased victim, said her client is “gutted” by the news.

“I think he was hopeful that it would all be over today because the process itself, in terms of the ongoing criminal case, has been really re-traumatising for him,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“It’s been a real emotional rollercoaster, the whole process, for him.

“It just leaves the wounds very raw and open.”

Image credit – Darrian Traynor / Stringer

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