Australian court rejects Cardinal George Pell's appeal

TIMELINE OF THE PELL CASE21:20FShareTTweetBMailJTumblrGShareLLinkedInWWhatsApp

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"We thank his many supporters".

Catholic Cardinal George Pell's appeal against his child sexual abuse conviction has been dismissed and he will remain in prison.

"Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today", the statement said, adding that he maintains his innocence.

"As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court", said the Vatican statement.

The Vatican has previously flagged its own internal investigation into the evidence against Pell.

In these cases, "the right to due process is at risk of becoming moot", Condon said.

When he learned his fate in the court, Pell bowed his head slightly, but did not show any expression.

Pell is no longer a member of Pope Francis' council of cardinals or a Vatican official, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said soon after the appeal was rejected that Pell would be stripped of his Order of Australia honor.

Pell, the highest-ranking Catholic worldwide to be convicted of child sex offences, was sentenced in March to six years in jail after being found guilty on five charges of abusing the two boys at St Patrick's Cathedral while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the late 1990s. He said that his thoughts and prayers were with "the man who brought this matter before the courts".

The Vatican says Pell does have another chance to appeal.

House noted that the verdict would contribute to preventing sexual assaults in Catholic churches, "which is wonderful".

The surviving victim, who can not be named for legal reasons, said that he never wished to damage the church and he had never sought compensation.

"After attending the funeral of my childhood friend, the other choirboy, I felt a responsibility to come forward".

"I think it calls into question the seriousness that the church is taking abuse when they leave someone who can technically vote in a conclave to elect a new Pope and has been convicted of abuse as a member of the College of Cardinals".

A statement from Pell's spokeswoman said the lawyers will examine the judgment and consider further appeal.

In a statement from Archbishop Mark Coleridge of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference also said it "accept today's judgement".

Survivor support groups applauded the judges' decision.

'In those circumstances, Justice Weinberg stated that in his view, the convictions could not stand'.

Cardinal Pell appealed the verdict, impugning the reasonability of any conviction on the evidence presented in court, and citing two technical reasons: the trial judge's refusal to allow the jury to see a 19-minute video animation of the Cathedral where the crimes of which Pell was accused were alleged to have taken place; a procedural irregularity regarding Pell's arraignment, which did not take place before a jury.

The conviction occurred during the second trial for Cardinal Pell. An earlier trial had ended in a deadlocked jury. He was found guilty of orally raping one boy and sexually molesting another.

"He will continue to serve his sentence of six years' imprisonment", Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said. "And his explanations of why that was so had the ring of truth", said the two judges. In fact, he is a decent man who has been repeatedly victimized by the courts.

She said the three judges had watched all the recordings from the trial, including the recorded interview with Cardinal Pell and the evidence given by 12 of the 24 witnesses.

Mr Lamb said it is likely to be a comprehensive inquiry, and if it comes to a similar conclusions as the Australian courts, he expects Pell will be removed from the priesthood.

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