news

George Pell has lost his appeal, and will serve his full sentence.

At 9:30am on Wednesday morning, Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his child sexual abuse conviction was dismissed. The Court of Appeal sitting in Victoria rejected the centrepiece of Pell’s appeal in a 2-1 decision.

The court determined there was enough evidence to convict Pell of the sexual assault of two choirboys more than 20 years ago.

Following his unsuccessful appeal, Pell will remain in prison and has been sentenced to six years in prison, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months.

Once Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, Pell was convicted on December 11, 2018, of five charges of child sexual abuse. This included the rape of one 13-year-old choirboy and the sexual assault of another at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.

Chief Justice Ann Ferguson and President Chris Maxwell were agreed in their decision on Wednesday morning, while Justice Mark Weinberg said he would have ordered Pell be acquitted.

Justice Ferguson said she and Justice Maxwell believed the complainant was a compelling witness, not a fantasist.

“Throughout his evidence the complainant came across as someone who was telling the truth,” she said.

“He did not seek to embellish his evidence or tailor it in a manner favourable to the prosecution.”

She said the judges had watched the evidence, including some parts a number of times.

cardinal pell appeal
Pell was convicted on December 11, 2018, of five charges of child sexual abuse. Image: Getty.
ADVERTISEMENT

They also visited the cathedral and examined the robes, which Pell's defence team had argued were too heavy to be pulled aside so he could expose his penis, as had been alleged.

"We found the robes were capable of being manoeuvred in a way that could be described as moved or pulled aside," she said.

Pell arrived at Victoria's Supreme Court in Melbourne on Wednesday morning in a white prison van, handcuffed and led by a guard as he entered the court building.

Also at the hearing was Pell's brother David and his daughter, Pell's niece Sarah Jane Pell.

Outside of Victoria's Supreme Court was a queue of victim advocates, Pell supporters and journalists who were waiting to get into the Court of Appeal room.

Supporters and opponents of Pell verbally clashed as they waited to be let into the court.

Doors to the court opened minutes after Pell arrived and about 100 people including media filled the court.

Police were moving all of the cars out the front of the Supreme Court and about 20 officers arrived on the scene.

"I think today is going to be explosive. There's no doubt about that. We're in for a shocking day," abuse survivor Michael 'Advocate' told AAP outside the court before his appeal was dismissed.

The father of a man who died, who was found to be one of Pell's victims, had a sleepless night ahead of Wednesday's decision, his lawyer Lisa Flynn told Melbourne radio 3AW.

- With AAP

Tags: child-abuse , george-pell , news-3 , news-stories
00:00 / ???