Cardinal George Pell Launches Appeal Over Sex Abuse Conviction
George Pell will today appeal against the six-year jail sentence handed to him for sexually abusing two boys.
The Catholic Church's former third in charge was convicted late last year and was sentenced in March for his crimes while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
The 77-year-old has maintained his innocence from the start and his lawyers will try to argue against his conviction on three grounds in the Victorian Supreme Court.
They'll try to argue that the jury verdict was unreasonable and that two errors were made during the trial. His team was upset that the conviction rested on the testimony from one of the victims, with the other dying in 2014.
Pell's lawyers say there was no way to say he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt when they had 20 Crown witnesses that were favourable to him.
Another avenue for challenge was the court's decision not to allow Pell's team to show an animation of the church where the crimes took place.
Proponents of Pell argued that it would have been near impossible for Pell to abuse the two boys at the time they said it happened because it was just after mass and there would have been plenty of witnesses.
Interestingly, the lawyer that Pell had during his trial, Robert Richter QC, won't be involved in the appeal process because the conviction and sentence left him fuming.
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Richter said he was 'too angry and upset at the outcome [of the trial] to bring the objectivity that an appeal requires'.
The Vatican is waiting until this process is over until they decide to strip him of his titles and will consider removing him from the priesthood once their own investigation is complete.
When Pell was sentenced, Chief Judge Kidd was scathing in his remarks.
"The acts were sexually graphic. Both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending," he told Pell.
"You were confident your victims would not complain. It is fanciful to suggest that you may not have fully appreciated this.
"There is an added layer of degradation and humiliation that each of your victims must have felt in knowing that their abuse had been witnessed by the other.
"I would characterise these breaches and abuses as grave. You continued to offend with callous indifference to the victim's distress. Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance."
There's no set time for how long the appeals process and decision will take so buckle up.
Featured Image Credit: PA