— With AAP
1. Cardinal George Pell to appeal to high court over child sexual abuse conviction.
Cardinal George Pell has started his last-ditch bid to get out of jail and erase his child abuse convictions, arguing his crimes were impossible.
The 78-year-old paedophile remained behind bars on Tuesday as his lawyers lodged a special leave application with Australia’s highest court.
A spokesperson for the High Court confirmed it had received the application through its Melbourne registry, “requesting leave to appeal a decision”.
Snippets of the 12-page document show Pell’s argument includes that the offending was impossible – a case also used by lawyers during his jury trial.
The matter will be considered by a panel and either dismissed, accepted or further examined with the parties called to a brief hearing.
The process can take anywhere up to six months.
If successful in seeking leave, Pell’s lawyers will lodge a full appeal with the High Court.
Victoria’s Court of Appeal last month upheld by two votes to one Pell’s December conviction for the rape of a 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.
Pell’s lawyers had argued on grounds including that the jury verdicts were “unsafe and unsatisfactory”.
George Pell will try to overturn child sex abuse conviction in the High Court. An application’s been made seeking leave to appeal after an initial attempt to clear his name was rejected last month. https://t.co/yIGlfVDNxB #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/e3nMvOjTMt
— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) September 17, 2019
Victorian Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and President Chris Maxwell voted to deny Pell’s appeal but Justice Mark Weinberg voted for his acquittal. They published a 325-page judgment explaining their decisions.
Pell had until Wednesday to file an application to the High Court.
In March, he was sentenced to six years in prison and must spend at least three years and eight months behind bars before he’s eligible for parole.
The earliest Pell can be released is October 2022, when he will be 81.