Cardinal George Pell’s appeal has been dismissed 2-1 by the Court of Appeal judges, Anne Ferguson, Chris Maxwell and Mark Weinberg.
Pell, a high profile Catholic, appealed against convictions on five charges of sexually abusing two choirboys in the 1990s when he was the archbishop of Melbourne. He has already spent more than 170 days in jail, as part of an original 6-year sentence after a County Court jury found him guilty of attacking the boys after Sunday masses at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne.
Pell’s appeal argued that the jury’s verdicts were unreasonable because jurors must have entertained a reasonable doubt in their deliberations. Other reasons why Pell’s legal team believe he should be freed are:
– The timing of the assaults was impossible
– Pell couldn’t be in the sacristy a few minutes after mass when witnesses said they saw him go to the front of the cathedral to greet parishioners
– Pell couldn’t be robed and alone in the sacristy, because church officials were always present
These reasons and 10 others form the basis of Pell’s appeal and argue that it creates a reasonable doubt among the jury, and for him to be found not guilty.
However, the conviction has been upheld, and Pell will remain in prison for the rest of his sentence. There is likely going to be future cases regarding Pell with a civil case pending after one of the victim’s fathers sued Pell.
For now, Pell is guilty. Justice has been achieved for the victims and society. This case sets an important precedent for future cases, and it will be interesting to see what happens now.