Catholic News Agency

Australia’s High Court will announce today whether it will hear Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction on sexual abuse charges.

Two judges on the country’s highest court will announce whether the full court’s seven judges will hear their appeal, the Associated Press reports.

The court rejects about 90% of appeals.

In August, sources close to the cardinal told CNA that they thought Pell’s case would likely be accepted given the controversy triggered by the split decision of the Court of Appeals of Victoria, which rejected the cardinal’s appeal.

The cardinal, now 78, was convicted Dec. 11, 2018, on five charges that he sexually abused two 13-year-old choir boys after Sunday Mass while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and 1997.

He was sentenced to six years in prison, of which he must serve at least three years and eight months before being eligible to apply for parole.

The controversial case has drawn significant public attention, with Pell’s defenders arguing he could not have committed sexual abuse in the sacristy after Mass, which was always crowded with people, without anyone noticing.

Pell’s lawyers have argued that two state appeals court judges made two errors when they dismissed his appeal in August.

Pell was incorrectly required to prove that it was impossible he committed the offenses, rather than putting the burden of proof on prosecutors, the cardinal’s attorneys argued. They also said that the judges were wrong to find the jury’s verdicts reasonable. The attorneys have argued there was reasonable doubt about whether Pell had the opportunity to commit the crimes.

The prosecutors of Pell’s case have rejected these claims and said the courts made no errors, the Associated Press reports.

Pell’s previous appeal was presented on three grounds, two of which were procedural, and dismissed by all three appeal judges. The judges were divided on Pell’s primary ground of appeal, that the decision of the jury was “unreasonable” given the demonstration of clear “reasonable doubt” that he committed the crimes with which he was charged.

Last year CNA reported that his initial trial, bound by a gag order, ended in a mistrial. This fact was confirmed by one of the judges in the Aug. 21 proceeding.

The prosecution rested on the testimony of one of the alleged victims— the one reported to have suffered two instances of abuse by Pell. The other victim died in 2014 and was unable to testify, but in 2001 had denied to his mother that any abuse occurred while he was a member of the choir.

Before the Court of Appeals of Victoria, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Court President Chris Maxwell formed the majority in favor of rejecting Pell’s appeal that the jury verdict was unreasonable on the evidence presented.

In an extensive dissent from the majority finding, Justice Mark Weinberg noted that the entirety of the evidence against Pell consisted of the testimony of a single accuser, whereas more than 20 witnesses were produced to testify against his narrative.

“Even the ‘reasonable possibility’ that what the witnesses who testified to these matters may have been true must inevitably have led to an acquittal,” Weinberg wrote, concluding that Pell had, in effect, been improperly asked to establish the “impossibility” of his guilt and not merely reasonable doubt.

Pell has maintained his innocence, with his defense making central the argument that the alleged crimes would have been, under the circumstances, “simply impossible.”

Pell was convicted of exposing himself and forcing two choir boys to commit sex acts while fully vested in his Sunday Mass garb, almost immediately after Mass in the priests’ sacristy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996. Pell was at that time Archbishop of Melbourne. He was also convicted of fondling one of the boys in a corridor in 1997.

Pell’s defenders have contended that the sacristy abuse allegations are not possible given the high traffic after Mass and the obstructing nature of the Mass vestments.

The cardinal is detained at the Melbourne Assessment Prison. As a convicted child sex offender, Pell has been held in solitary confinement for extra protection from other inmates. He is not permitted to celebrate Mass in prison. He has recently obtained a prison job weeding a courtyard.

Responding to the Court of Appeal decision in August, Matteo Bruni, Holy See press office director, said that “the Holy See acknowledges the court’s decision to dismiss Cardinal Pell’s appeal,” while reiterating its “respect for the Australian judicial system.”

“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.”


Later today we will hear whether or not Pell will be allowed to appeal his conviction for child abuse to the national high court.

His appeal to the state court failed.

As it stands he is a convicted child sex abuser.

If he has a successful appeal to this high court it will clear his name.

Let’s see what the outcome is.

As it stands he is still a cardinal and entitled to vote in a conclave.

If his appeal fails he will then be subject to an internal church court.

That could end with him being decardinalised and in fact reduced to being a lay man like his mate McCarrick.


Pat, Fr Mullaney did visit and holiday in Mccarick’s Jersey Shore beach house. Mullaney looked up to McCarrick as a Father figure.


Oh, Pell is guilty alright. Filthy old bastardo.

However, I am not happy that he was convicted on the uncorroborated testimony of one person.

Liked by 1 person

Not so quick!
Because of Pell’s profile Australia must be seen to be just.
And even if he is freed the court could order a retrial.


12.11: Our filthy old bastardly, Margarita Carty has surfaced after sing absence…apart from ing up with gin, he was also fllin the tank with poisonous toxins to pour out at one and all. Same old, same old Marge the Bitch…


appeal granted.Pell was largely convicted on the testimony of one victim. The second victim died from an accidental heroin overdose in 2014 when he was 31, and had not alleged that he had been abused


Let us ponder on the legal chain of events that has got us to this point where Cardinal Pell gets the chance to roll the legal dice a 4th TIME;
1- Robert Richter
2- Mark Weinberg
3-Joshua Edelman
Is the first time that the High Court of Australia has granted leave to appeal for a convicted and jailed paedophile?
“ut fidelis quis inveniatur”
Can we say this about the Cardinal?


Dear NatLog,
The cases of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four are evidence that your point of view is fallible, false and deficient.

Liked by 1 person

Thank you for your post

I do not understand. Who and what are the Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 and what can it demonstrate about George Pell

Thank you


The boy orally raped, and otherwise indecently assualted, by Paedo Pell isn’t the only person to have made sexual allegations against him. I believe these to be true.
In addition, an indoor-swimming-pool worker, in a television documentary, stated that he had caught Pell overly exposing himself, completely naked, to young boys. The man told Pell not to return, otherwise he would call the police. I believe this man’s account, too.


Pat. Whatever become of your fellow colleague down there in larne, Fr Conor McCarthy? I just came across a photo of his ordination day on google. Flags flying, lots of priests, a bishop and lots of pious razzmatazz. Has he been moved?


It is hard to think, Bp Pat, that seven judges will believe “the obstructing nature of the Mass vestments” made it impossible to rape and assault the two boys.

Obviously, the jury did not believe it either.


I write on behalf of the Guild of Road Hauliers of Ireland. Many members involved in driving from the south to Belfast are wondering if the chaplaincy services have been withdrawn. Many members are complaining that they are missing the tender ministrations of the clergyman who provided his services on the route. Will a new chaplain be appointed soon?


9.45: Truckers Tom, Dick and Harry: beware cameras: beware cars psrked close by with mobile phones: your trucks are being registered all over the place and footage taken. Will be sent to PSNI and companies named on trucks……I know for a fact..


9.45: Trucker Tom, the deviant roadside antics of truckers all over the country is well documented. A sex crazed lot who will take anything for momentary pleasure, mostly fellow, dirty, oily truckers. I called the PSNI once having taken photos and videos of your disgusting behaviour in public. So, I suggest you zip it and go to your sleazy office and do what you want behind closed doors so that no impressionable young person is drawn into your filth nor any child or family be subject to your obscenities. You don’t need a cleric for your pleasure: you truckers are experts at supplying for one another!!.


10.13: Exactly……are you an expert too, a doer, a bystander or participant, a deviant?


10.43 what a fantasist you are. You only have to look at his diary and you see that he is attending a Council of Priests.


10.04. Father, don’t get upset. Tom isn’t stereotyping. Unlike you with your diatribe about lorrydrives. Seems like a raw nerve has been struck.


10.47: I’m not a cleric, so you needn’t worry about my spiritual well being. I’m a parent and have noticed these creatures along the lay bys and find it unacceptable. So, Mr. Trucker – get lost. Go to your cowshed…..


Bishoppat@8.14 am
I think that an order for a retrial is highly unlikely. That would be a possible outcome if the appeal court were of the view that something had gone badly wrong in the trial process, e.g. the wrongful admission or exclusion of evidence, or a serious error in the judge’s summing-up. Pell’s lawyers do not at this stage have any complaint about the conduct of the trial. They say, rather, that the verdict was one which no reasonable jury could have reached and so is unsafe. If they are right, the conviction will be quashed; if wrong, it will be upheld: and in either event the matter will, so far as the law is concerned, be concluded.
Both the majority and the dissenting judgments in the first appeal were impressively reasoned, and it will be interesting to see what the High Court of Australia makes of them.

Liked by 1 person

You’re right. And also he’s seventy-eight and was in poor health, even before he went into prison.

I don’t see how he could truly be given a fair trial when he wouldn’t have the vigour and strength to properly instruct his lawyers. (Yes, I know that it does often happen, particularly with historical allegations of child sex-abuse, but it shouldn’t. It has sometimes led to grave miscarriages of justice.).

What Pell, and many other bishops, should be left rot in prison for is their enabling of child-sex abuse by concealing such crimes and moving of pervert-priests around parishes .


Retired Judge at 11.24
It would be a bold appeals’ court that ruled twelve jurors unreasonable.
For the reasons already stated by you, and because of what I said above, I believe that Pell’s appeal will be denied.


Allen Hall!
What’s happening there? There’s very little news on the web.
How do they provide Philosophy and Theology studies now that Heythrop has closed?
How many seminarians are there now, and how many does Redemptoris Mater have? I’m surprised that there’s sufficient seminarians to require two seminaries.


I have been in contact with an English priest who was given an STD by a staff member at Allen Hall!


This blog’s been put on the map! Discussed at Allen Hall, eh? So who was present at this Meeting of the Wise? A few names to whet the appetite, please. I take it Elsie was not paying any compliments. Does Mother Wragg accompany him to these sessions, or is it strictly gentlemen only – like most of the activities at Allen Hall?


what are ye all having for the dinner? Timmy said he would love bacon and cabbage, so I put on chicken, veg and a few spuds. might have a bit of stew tomorrow.


Timmys wife. If Timmy goes to Dromore will you go with him? Or will you commute from the city centre. If you opt for the latter can I recommend the gold liner bus from Gt Vic Street to Newry. Only £7.50 return. Nice soft seats.


Things seem to be schlippn hi. Is this a blog or a school bike shed where immature buckos talk schyte about others and blow smoke in th air but


Magna at 7:26. This is a very emotional issue and the crimes are horrid, but in law, reason must prevail or we go over the cliff. As the dissenting judge at the appeal pointed out, there is insufficient evidence to prove guilt in this particular case. Pell is accused of abusing a boy in the sacristy immediately after Mass. We all know that the procedures in a sacristy immediately after Mass make that highly unlikely. That’s the point at issue, not our own feelings, or even Pell’s past conduct.


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