The appeal document, The Age reported, says that "the verdicts are unreasonable and cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence, because on the whole of the evidence, including unchallenged exculpatory evidence from more than 20 Crown witnesses, it was not open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt on the word of the complainant alone."
The news of Pell's conviction has met with varied reactions. While many figures in Australian media have applauded Pell's conviction, some Australians have called it into question, prompting considerable debate across the country.
Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, suggested that the justice process was tainted by media and police forces that had worked "to blacken the name" of Pell "before he went to trial."
"This is not a story about whether a jury got it right or wrong, or about whether justice is seen to prevail," Craven said in a Feb. 27 opinion piece in The Australian. "It's a story about whether a jury was ever given a fair chance to make a decision, and whether our justice system can be heard above a media mob."
Speaking on an Australian television program March 4, Australian Labor senator Kristina Keneally said those criticizing the verdict were "doing a disservice to our democratic jury system," adding, "I think it's disrespectful of the jury verdict … I would also reflect it's quite disrespectful of victims."
A university employees' union representative at the ACU wrote to the school's chancellor saying staff "have expressed dismay or repugnance" at Craven's actions.
Dr. Leah Kaufmann, a senior lecturer in psychology, wrote that Craven's questioning of the verdict "shows a disregard" for concerns regarding child safeguarding and "supporting survivors of sexual abuse."
On this basis Kaufmann asked that Craven be sanctioned, charging him with "lack of consideration of victims."
She also asked that the Pell Centre at the school's Ballarat campus be renamed, and that his portrait be removed from a location at the North Sydney campus.
The Australian reported that an ACU spokeswoman responded that the school respects employees' rights to comment as a matter of intellectual freedom, saying Craven "made comment on the trial as a constitutional lawyer and former Victorian Crown Counsel."
Pell is incarcerated at the Melbourne Assessment Prison while he awaits the results of a sentencing hearing, which will be announced March 13.
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