George Pell: Cardinal’s bid to overturn conviction begins

Cardinal George PellPicture copyright
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Cardinal George Pell is serving a six-year jail time period

An Australian courtroom has begun listening to Cardinal George Pell’s attraction towards his conviction for baby sexual abuse.

Pell was discovered responsible by a jury final 12 months of abusing two boys inside a Melbourne cathedral in 1996. He was later jailed for six years.

The ex-Vatican treasurer, 77, is probably the most senior Catholic determine to be convicted of such crimes.

He maintains his innocence and argues the decision was unreasonable.

The listening to, which started on Wednesday, will run over two days in Victoria’s Court docket of Enchantment.

Pell was transported from jail to the courtroom in a van, carrying a black go well with and his clerical collar.

The Australian cardinal’s conviction has rocked the Catholic Church, the place he had been amongst Pope Francis’s closest advisers.

What was Pell convicted of?

Final 12 months, the County Court docket of Victoria heard that Pell had abused two 13-year-old boys following a mass in 1996, when he was archbishop of Melbourne. He abused one of many boys once more in 1997, the courtroom was instructed.

A jury unanimously convicted him on one cost of sexually penetrating a toddler below 16, and 4 counts of committing an indecent act on a toddler below 16.

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Media captionIn a 2016 police interview, Pell referred to as abuse claims towards him ‘disgraceful garbage’

The trial heard testimony from one of many victims. The opposite died of a drug overdose in 2014.

Pell selected to not give proof through the trial.

How is he arguing for an attraction?

Pell desires to contest the decision on three grounds. The primary asserts that it was “unreasonable” as a result of it relied too closely on the testimony of the surviving sufferer.

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Pell arrives at courtroom in a van on Wednesday

The jury had additionally heard “unchallenged” proof from 20 different prosecution witnesses, they argue.

Why Pell’s conviction was stored a secret
Inside a strictly managed trial

The second side of the attraction asserts that the trial choose had wrongly prevented a defence animation from being performed on the trial.

The video represents the areas of witnesses inside St Patrick’s Cathedral. Pell’s legal professionals argue that he couldn’t have dedicated abuse as a result of it was unattainable for him to be alone.

The third problem contends that Pell was prevented from coming into his plea earlier than a jury – towards courtroom course of.

What may unfold?

The attraction is being heard by three judges within the Court docket of Enchantment – a division of the Supreme Court docket of Victoria.

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The attraction is being thought of by judges (from left) Chris Maxwell, Anne Ferguson and Mark Weinberg

It’s now as much as the judges to find out whether or not the jury may have been glad that Pell was responsible past affordable doubt. A choice requires solely two of the three judges to agree.

A profitable attraction may end in a retrial or Pell being instantly launched, authorized consultants say.

When may a call be identified?

Consultants say it may occur both instantly after the hearings conclude on Thursday, or the judges may reserve their ruling for a later date.

What’s been the response beforehand?

Pell’s surviving sufferer – who can’t be named – has beforehand expressed concern that the decision may very well be overturned.

“There is no such thing as a relaxation for me. All the pieces is overshadowed by the forthcoming attraction,” he mentioned in March.

Pell: Poisoned energy on the high
The backlash to the decision in Australia

The Vatican mentioned they discovered the conviction to be “painful information”, but additionally that Pell had a proper to “defend himself to the final diploma”.

The cleric was faraway from the Pope’s interior circle in December, and his time period as Vatican treasurer expired earlier this 12 months.

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