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.
Chief Justice Anne Ferguson announces Cardinal George Pell gets appeal dismissed #Pell
— Chris Reason (@ChrisReason7) August 20, 2019
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.