Melbourne, Australia, Jun 3, 2019 / 12:00 pm
Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his criminal conviction for child sexual abuse will be heard in Australia on Wednesday. The cardinal was convicted in December, 2018, of five charges of sexual abuse of minors.
The appeal is set to be heard by a three-judge panel of the state of Victoria’s Supreme Court on 5-6 June.
Pell was convicted for acts of sexual abuse against two choristers in 1996, while he was Archbishop of Melbourne.
Following his conviction in the County Court of Victoria, Pell was sentenced in March to six years in prison, of which he must serve at least three years and eight months. Pell has remained in prison since that time.
Defense lawyers acting for Pell have appealed the decision on three separate grounds.
This first ground of appeal is that the unanimous decision of the jury could not have risen to the level of “beyond reasonable doubt” because of the unchallenged exculpatory evidence of 20 witnesses during the trial.
The second ground concerns the decision of the trial judge, Peter Kidd, to exclude a video presentation by defense lawyers which would, they maintain, have illustrated to the jury the implausibility of the victim’s narrative.
The third ground is a procedural appeal concerning Pell’s arraignment, which was not properly carried out in front of a jury, which the defense argue was a “fundamental irregularity.”