The High Court announced today that they would hear the appeal of George Pell on five child sex abuse charges that he was found guilty of last year. This decision is somewhat unexpected due to the High Court more often than not rejecting appeal submissions.
This is now the last legal avenue for George Pell to overturn the charges against him. The decision will be final, and the response must be appropriate. If Pell’s appeal is unsuccessful in the High Court, there must be a stronger response from critical institutions. The Catholic church must acknowledge and respect the decision without disagreement and look towards preventing future cases and protecting victims.
Unfortunately, the hearing for Pell’s appeal may still be a few months away, leading to further uncertainty for victims and their families. Regardless of the verdict by the High Court, the welfare and continued rehabilitation of the victims should be prioritised.
This is now the last chance for Cardinal Pell. The decision made by the High Court is important but what is more important is the response to the decision. Change has to be made to prevent cases of institutionalised child abuse continuing to occur as it has detrimental impacts on all of society.
Whether guilty or not guilty, we need to do better to protect the lives of the most innocent members of society.