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47of74

Cardinal Pell found guilty of abuse

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Meh
47of74

Just heard about this

Quote

Cardinal George Pell, the third-highest ranking member of the Vatican and the top Catholic official ever to go to trial over the church’s sex abuse scandal, was found guilty Tuesday in Australia of charges of sexually abusing two choir boys in the late 1990s, the Daily Beast reports.

On Wednesday, the Vatican announced Pope Francis had removed Pell and Francisco Javier Errázuriz, a cardinal from Chile, from the group of his nine close advisers, according to the BBC. Errázuriz has been accused of covering up allegations of abuse and actively working to discredit victims while serving as the archbishop of Santiago. As of now, Pell officially remains the secretariat for the economy—the treasurer of the Vatican, handpicked by Francis, and the third-highest role in the Vatican hierarchy—but he took an indefinite leave of absence to defend himself against the accusations in Australia. Pell has maintained his innocence of the charges.

Thanks to a ruling by an Australian judge, a “suppression” order to prevent “risk of prejudice” banned any press coverage of the trial in Australia, where the gag order remains in place. As a result, many details about the allegations and decision are not known. The unanimous verdict this week comes after a hung jury resulted in a mistrial in an earlier trial, which began in June in Melbourne.

 

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AmazonGrace

I have no words 

 

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Syriana
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I have no words

At best that character reference was ill-judged, the part about his opinion not being changed particularly.  At worst, he's attempting to mitigate actions that are beyond reprehensible.  It is one thing to struggle to believe that someone you called a friend, someone you held in high esteem, could actually be guilty of something so bad (a lot of people struggle with that, they're human), it's quite another to publicly state that being a convicted sex offender has no impact on your opinion of a person!  John Howard is hardly naive about the press or the court of public opinion!

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HurricaneBells

Guilty. But I actually think we as a country are a little torn over that verdict. John Howard is not the only public persona to continue backing him and some of the public seem to oddly feel the same way. Irrelevant I guess, since he is currently sitting in a gaol cell. His lawyer isnt helping by describing it as vanilla abuse (seriously dont even ask), its so minimizing to his victims and adds to the outrage.

I'm curious to see what the church does next. The judge said "this is not a judgement on the Catholic church" but I don't know if I agree. Not that there aren't good Catholics but will the institution itself sit by and be complicit in their silence or will they finally condemn him? I think they will stay silent.

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Syriana

They'll wait for the appeal first - which is fair enough, let the judicial system run its full course, then I hope there would be an unequivocal condemnation of his actions if the verdict is upheld.

Pope Francis has at least publically condemned child sex abuse by the clergy, he's sent a stronger message than his predecessor but just how far he will go is yet to be seen.

 

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Ozlsn

More information about how the appeal could go.

Re Howard's reference - a barrister in a facebook thread discussing the case said that as the references are used for sentencing (partly to assess the risk of reoffending) then the referee has to show that they are aware of the conviction. However the remorse of the perpetrator is more a consideration - if they pleaded guilty and all their referees are essentially saying "this is out of character, they have expressed their remorse, they have always been a valuable member if the community and are unlikely to do this again" the references will be taken into account. Given Pell is maintaining his innocence the referees are more a letter of support than anything useful from a legal perspective. 

There is certainly a section of the community (notably a lot of the conservative white male commentariat) who feel this case is a revenge stitch up for Pell having implemented the Melbourne Response. There aren't the same level of rumours* following him as there were Gerald Ridsdale (for example) and a lot of people seem to see Pell as a very cold fish (he would have been awful as a parish priest IMO).  The mistrial didn't help - I have no idea how many jurors voted against conviction, but there were at least two (majority verdict requires 11-1). There were arguments over logistics, the fact that the case is relatively recent (the same year the Melbourne Response was implemented), that nothing was reported earlier - a lot of the usual issues brought up around historical cases but with the added fact that Pell was/is a powerful man with powerful friends, many of whom shape media responses. I'm not surprised the community is a bit uncertain - although there are a lot of people who believe the verdict is correct. 

I have to admit I was surprised when Pell was charged - not least because he'd left the country, and I didn't think he'd return.  I am less surprised that he has been convicted, although I am interested to see what will happen with the appeal. The detail that gets me - and that makes it make sense to me - was it being after one of his first masses as archbishop. Pell has always struck me as a man who wants power - and that was an demonstration of power in a moment of triumph. 

*until I read the linked article I wasn't aware that there was a second case from the 1970s being tried, hence the suppression order. 

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Syriana
22 hours ago, HurricaneBells said:

I'm curious to see what the church does next. The judge said "this is not a judgement on the Catholic church" but I don't know if I agree. Not that there aren't good Catholics but will the institution itself sit by and be complicit in their silence or will they finally condemn him? I think they will stay silent.

 

It seems (and I'm a little surprised) that they're opening a cononical investigation - I didn't expect them to announce anything until after the appeal.

From the Catholic Herlad:

The cardinal is scheduled to be sentenced March 13 on five charges of sexual abuse

The day Australian Cardinal George Pell was jailed in Melbourne after being found guilty of child sexual abuse, the Vatican announced his case would be investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“After the guilty verdict in the first instance concerning Cardinal Pell, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm,” Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, said on February 27.

A court in Melbourne ordered that Cardinal Pell be taken into custody on February 27; he is scheduled to be sentenced March 13 on five charges related to the sexual abuse of two 13-year-old boys in the late 1990s when he was archbishop of Melbourne. The cardinal continues to affirm his innocence and plans to appeal the verdict.

Cardinal Pell, a former Archbishop of Sydney, took a leave of absence in mid-2017 from his position as prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy. The Vatican confirmed on February 26 that the cardinal’s five-year term as prefect ended on February 24.

The canonical investigation of Cardinal Pell announced by the Vatican is not the first Church investigation of allegations against him; in June 2002, then-Archbishop Pell stepped aside as Archbishop of Sydney while an independent church review board investigated a claim that he sexually abused a 12-year-old boy at a youth camp in 1961 while a seminarian. The board found insufficient evidence to corroborate the accusations.

When a deacon, priest or bishop is accused of abuse, the first phase of the investigation generally is carried out by the diocese where the abuse is alleged to have occurred. For instance, in the case of Theodore McCarrick, the initial investigation was carried out by the Archdiocese of New York, and once the allegations were determined to be credible, the case was handed over to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Vatican statement on February 27 did not mention an archdiocesan inquiry, but apparently that is not necessary in cases where there is a criminal court conviction.

According to information posted by the Vatican, when the doctrinal congregation opens a process, two modes of proceeding are possible: either with a trial or with a shorter administrative process. In both cases, the accused has the right and opportunity to know the evidence against him and to respond.

If found guilty, the penalties can vary depending on the seriousness of the crime and, often, the age of the accused; possible penalties include removal from office, restricted ministry, “a life of prayer and penance” without any public ministry and dismissal from the clerical state.

 

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Ozlsn

The sister of one of the victims in the abandoned Ballarat case has spoken out.

Spoiler

 The sister of a man who alleges he was also sexually abused by George Pell says the family is not dismayed the Cardinal's second trial is not going ahead, as they feel a sense of justice has been served. They also hope Pell's conviction will spur other victims of sexual assault to come forward and seek support.

Karen Monument said she was compelled to speak out on behalf of her family, particularly her brother Lyndon who has been left overwhelmed by the week's events, after seeing two former Australian prime ministers, Tony Abbott and John Howard as well as News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt publicly defend Pell in the wake of his conviction. Jesuit priest Frank Brennan also moved to cast doubt on the guilty verdict suggesting that the jury discarded the defence’s compelling arguments. "All of you have had something to say that has affected me – now it’s my turn," Ms Monument said.

Lyndon Monument alleges he was sexually assaulted by Pell at Eureka Pool in the 1970s. He was due to give evidence in the cardinal's second trial. That trial, dubbed the 'swimmer's trial,' is no longer going ahead due to issues with evidence. In a statement provided to The Age, Ms Monument also praised the work of the jury who found Pell guilty.

"In all of this noise, their message comes through quietly, powerfully and is directed to those who have not yet come forward and sadly to those who are yet to have their experience – you are safe, we believe you," she said.

Mr Monument was among the first to come forward with allegations he had been sexually abused by Pell, whom he claims put his hands down the front of his bathers during a game in the water at the Eureka Pool. "The impact of child sexual abuse inflicted by members of the Catholic Church began reverberating in my family home almost 40 years ago and culminated in the loss of a brother to suicide just over 10 years ago," Ms Monument said. That brother is understood to have been sexually abused by a different clergy member. "I did not think that my family could ever experience a pain and a darkness like that ever again. But I was wrong." The decision to come forward with allegations against George Pell, almost four years ago, set my brother, myself and my family on a journey that has had equally dark times and inflicted stress that I did not, at times, think we would survive." Pell, 77, is in prison waiting to be sentenced after being found guilty of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne in the 1990s, when he was Archbishop of Melbourne. Lyndon's close friend, Damian Dignan, also accused Pell of sexually abusing him in the pool as a child. He died from terminal cancer just months before court proceedings began.  Damian Dignan died before court proceedings began.

Ms Monument also deplored Pell's barrister, Robert Richter, QC, for his remarks during a sentencing submission in which he described Pell's offending as "no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case". "The words spoken by Robert Richter in court ... have gone round and round in my mind since I first read them," she said. "They will impact survivors for days, weeks and for months." The prominent Melbourne-based barrister was heavily criticised after he made the comments and apologised on Thursday night for any distress they caused describing it as a "terrible choice of phrase” for which he was "profusely" sorry.

You can read Ms Monument's full statement here:

I am the sister of a complainant (and myself a witness) in the now abandoned ‘swimmers trial’ against George Pell – the reasons for which I fully understand and am comfortable with. I want to be clear the purpose of this letter is not to rage against the abandonment of that trial but a response to comments made by and the actions of a few particular men in the public eye over recent days. All of you have had something to say that has affected me – now it’s my turn.  Karen Monument. The impact of child sexual abuse inflicted by members of the Catholic Church began reverberating in my family home almost 40 years ago and culminated in the loss of a brother to suicide just over 10 years ago. I did not think that my family could ever experience a pain and a darkness like that ever again. But I was wrong. The decision to come forward with allegations against George Pell, almost four years ago, set my brother, myself and my family on a journey that has had equally dark times and inflicted stress that I did not, at times, think we would survive. The words spoken by Robert Richter in court on Wednesday (I will not repeat them) have gone round and round in my mind since I first read them. The impact those words had on survivors is well documented across social media platforms, they will impact survivors for days, weeks and for some months. I am sorry you had to endure such disrespect and further harm.  I hope that you have the support and care that you need right now. What I also observe is the impact those words had on ‘us’ who are not victims.  Why? Because they gave us an incomprehensible taste of what survivors face and endure through the various systems they navigate for both justice and compensation. It was unimaginable to the ordinary person that such an abhorrent experience could be referred to in such a callous way, in an effort to extract leniency. I also lost sleep. Social media has facilitated an overwhelming negative public response to the decision by John Howard for providing a character reference. Andrew Bolt's continued tirades depict the victims as unreliable and worse, always with his trademark air of arrogance and judgement. Father Frank Brennan used his position and the media, to demonstrate the ‘innocence’ of his friend because it ‘simply wasn’t possible’, providing details about time here and there as well as garments supposedly secured. Thousands of victims who told their stories to the royal commission recounted how acts of abuse could occur in the most brazen and ‘impossible’ ways – predators strike when you least expect it, with speed and precision and if well-practised in the slightest of opportune moments. What dampens my rage and instead restores my faith in being human is how the public has sent the strongest of messages to these men of white privilege and power. You no longer rule our world. As they scramble to hold on to their perceived entitlement, they continue to personify what enabled a system of abuse against children for all to see. The well-deserved public backlash that has been directed at these men has been both eloquent and raw and completely united in its message – you are no longer of much interest to us. For they have been conquered by 12 ordinary people, installed on a jury and tasked with listening to ‘all’ the evidence and to return a verdict beyond reasonable doubt – they were unanimous – guilty. It can’t have been easy, will have taken courage and conviction, caused sleepless nights and returned them to their families changed from their experience. In all of this noise, their message comes through quietly, powerfully and is directed to those who have not yet come forward and sadly to those who are yet to have their experience – you are safe, we believe you.  Thank you, to the 12, for inspiring me to use my voice and my right to free speech.

I have to admit I'm finding it really interesting seeing who is falling where over this case. Some figures who I thought would support Pell (notably shock jock Ray Hadley and NSW Liberal* Party Vice President Kent Johns) haven't. There are still a lot on the fence, or at least staying quiet publically about their beliefs. I think as more comes out they may step down on one side. They may be too late though - the bolded part of that statement is a call to arms, and also an accurate statement.

*Liberal Party = conservative party.

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Ozlsn

Clare Linane (married to an abuse survivor) has written an open letter to Andrew Bolt, one of the white conservative male commentariat supporters of Pell. It is long, but worth reading. Not sure why my phone won't let me cut and paste, but she focuses on the victims and makes the point that they are the important ones.

 

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

@Ozlsn, wow. That letter is definitely worth reading. I'm really impressed by Clare Linane. And a little shaken. 

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Ozlsn
25 minutes ago, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

@Ozlsn, wow. That letter is definitely worth reading. I'm really impressed by Clare Linane. And a little shaken. 

One of the things that really gets me about this is just how much damage to people has been caused. It's not just the abuse, it's the entire culture that allowed it to remain hidden - and I include the broader community here too. It's not just not believing the victims, it's the active shutting them down, refusing to listen, belittling them. Treating them as malicious adults attacking the Church, not the very damaged inner children they still are.

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Syriana

That letter was quite a read!  While I had to smile at the descriptions given about the sacristy being quite/solemn/etc (the sacristies at the churches I've attended could better be described as Picadilly Circus before and after Mass - but not all churches are the same), her analysis is as poignant as it clear.  The wider problems being faced by the families of abuse survivors are characteristic of the problems faced where any mass trauma is involved, that many of these survivors are male only exacerbates the mental and emotional health issues - men are both less likely than women to report sexual abuse and less likely to access appropriate support afterwards.  There's also a stigma - real or perceived - regarding male victims of sexual abuse, the whole mindset needs to change.

 

 

The silencing of survivors was (and is) unconscionable, while I can see why people felt a need to protect the church as an institution and the clergy as the face of moral acceptability, the very fact that people looked to the church to set the standard is the most powerful driver for why this should have been faced the right way years ago.  The unwillingness of many on the church to face up to their own failings and those failings of the people around them has left devastation in its wake.  If you're going to set the standard, you have to live up to it yourself or you're being the worst kind of hypocrite (politicians take note!).

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Syriana
Posted (edited)

The appeal has now been heard and the panel has reserved judgement.  From what I've seen of the reporting, the prosecutor has made a mess of arguing his case!

https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/06/06/prosecution-falters-during-cardinal-pell-appeal-hearing/

Quote

 

The lead prosecutor arguing to sustain the conviction of Cardinal George Pell struggled Thursday in presenting the Crown’s case. Christopher Boyce struggled to answer questions from the three-judge appeal court, accidentally naming the alleged victim on a live stream of proceedings.

Following the conviction of Pell on five counts of sexual abuse of minors last December, judges at the Supreme Court of Victoria have been hearing an appeal against the jury’s unanimous decision. After extensive arguments from the defense on June 5, the prosecution put its case in favor of the decision Thursday.

The prosecution’s case against the appeal centers on upholding the sole witness and alleged victim in the case whom, Boyce insisted, was not a “liar” or a “fantasist,” while conceding that the witness had changed the dates and years of the alleged attacks over the course of the case and no longer agreed with the prosecution’s own assertions.

Boyce repeatedly found himself either struggling to articulate his own argument, or lost for words under judicial questioning, at one point conceding that “It’s not good enough for me to say what I said before,” and that “rehearsing the platitudes may not be all that helpful.”

The prosecutor insisted to the court that the witness, whom he accidentally named, despite his identity being suppressed by the court, had shown he was familiar with the layout and interior of the sacristy of Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, including renovation work underway at the time of the alleged offences.

The alleged victim was a chorister at the cathedral, and his understanding of the interior was not disputed by the defense, who instead pointed to key witness evidence from Monsignor Charles Portelli, the former master of liturgical ceremonies at the cathedral, who testified that Pell greeted congregants at the west door of the cathedral after Mass, and was in his constant company while vested.

Under questioning from the judges, led by court president Justice Chris Maxwell, Boyce struggled to account for what the judge called the “wildly improbable” circumstances of Pell’s alleged crimes.

Asked how it was possible that a figure of Pell’s stature and visibility could have approached, sequestered and assaulted two boys at the cathedral’s most busy time, Boyce said that the prosecution asserted that the alleged victim’s story was too outlandish to be made up.

“We’ve said somewhat ad nauseam if you are going to make it up… why make it up?” Boyce told the judges.

Boyce also seemed to suggest that the judges would be unable to understand the full context of the evidence of the trial, relying only on video and written accounts of court proceedings.

“Your honors are not in the same position of the jury. You’re just not. I apologize if I’m not being helpful as I might. Generally a trial has a certain kind of … atmosphere to it.”

Pell, who turns 78 this weekend, was present in court. Dressed in a roman collar but without either episcopal ring or pectoral cross, the cardinal was seen to take notes throughout proceedings.

The hearing ended at 4pm local time, with the judges reserving their judgement. There is no established time frame for their decision.

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/06/george-pell-appeal-prosecutor-struggles-to-answer-judges-questions

Quote

Prosecutor Christopher Boyce struggled through questions from three judges presiding over the appeal of Cardinal George Pell, finding it difficult to answer their inquiries about the victim’s evidence and the case.

Pell, 77, is appealing his conviction on four charges of an indecent act on a child under the age of 16, and one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16. On Wednesday his legal team, led by Bret Walker SC, argued it was improbable that Pell assaulted two 13-year-old boys after presiding as archbishop of Sunday solemn mass at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996, and then a few weeks later assaulted one of the boys again.

On Thursday Boyce put forward the prosecution’s arguments, which centres on the complainant being a believable and compelling witness who was able to confidently answer questions under a tough cross examination. Boyce was asked by one of the judges a couple of times to speak up shortly after he began, and several journalists left the room and watched from a live stream in another room because they were unable to hear him.

The case is being heard in front of chief justice Anne Ferguson, court president justice Chris Maxwell and justice Mark Weinberg. Boyce started off by emphatically stating Pell’s victim “is clearly not a liar, he was not a fantasist”. Soon after he accidentally named the victim, whose name is suppressed to protect his identity. It is usually fine to use a suppressed person’s name in court so long as it not broadcast more widely, but Pell’s appeal is being livestreamed around the world.

 

 

While the judges were quick to reassure Boyce that measures were in place to respond to such a mistake (the live stream has a delay of 15 seconds and was caught in time), Boyce was clearly rattled.

Boyce moved on but continued to stammer and stumble throughout the questions. Boyce was asked by the judges about the argument from Pell’s lawyers that it was odd that the victim never spoke about his second assault to the choirboy who he was abused with the first time. Pell’s lawyers had argued the victim would have warned the other boy Pell had abused him again and to stay away from him.

“Boys talk, don’t they?” Maxwell said, to which Boyce responded that boys just wanted to get on with their lives and “play footy or whatever they want to do”. In the trial, however, the victim told the court he pushed the abuse to the “darkest corners and recesses” of his mind. He feared talking about it to anyone would jeopardise his prestigious scholarship to St Kevin’s College, because being in the choir was a condition of that scholarship. Boyce eventually said the victim might not have spoken to the other boy about the abuse because he didn’t want his parents to find out, and because he was embarrassed.

Weinberg responded: “Your best answer is surely that this is matter well within the competence of the jury to assess.” Boyce quickly agreed.

Maxwell, who dominated the questioning, put it to Boyce that it was “wildly improbable” that someone of Pell’s height and stature would not have been seen approaching two choirboys. He was asked why Pell would then abuse those boys in a place with many potential witnesses.

Boyce responded: “We’ve said somewhat ad nauseam if you are going to make it up… why make it up?”

Many of the same issues put by the judges to Boyce were confidently navigated by prosecutor Mark Gibson during the five-week trial which concluded in December. However, it is not standard for the same prosecutor who led the trial to also lead the response to an appeal.

Maxwell asked what advantage jurors might have had over the appellate judges in terms of assessing the evidence, given the judges reviewed video footage of the trial and also had the transcripts. It could not be argued only the jurors had the benefit of seeing body language and hearing tone, he said.

“It’s difficult to answer,” Boyce responded. “Your honours are not in the same position of the jury. You’re just not. I apologise if I’m not being helpful as I might. Generally trial has a certain kind of … atmosphere to it.”

Weinberg offered: “If it helps Mr Boyce … juries almost always get it right. Almost.”

 

Walker was given 45 minutes to respond to Boyce’s arguments, and compared to Boyce he was confident.

He said he took issue with the prosecution claim that the complainant’s evidence was “unimpeachable”.

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“We are unkind enough to say, well no … ,” Walker said. Walker said as an example the complainant had changed his story about when the offending occurred, originally saying one of the offences occurred in 1997.

The hearing finished just after 4pm. Unlike during the trial, when Pell often sat with his head bowed, using a cane to assist him to walk to and from the dock, he appeared more engaged with the appeal, taking notes throughout and intently watching the prosecutor and judges. He has been in prison since he was sentenced in February.

The judges will not only be considering arguments put by Walker and Boyce, but the entirety of the evidence put to jurors during Pell’s trial. They have reserved their decision, and did not state when they would return to the court to deliver it.

 

 

A second source is given as the first is Catholic (just in case of any bias)

Edited by Curious
fixing format

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Syriana

The verdict of the appeal will be handed down on August 21st, I imagine there will be an uproar whatever the result is!

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Syriana

He's lost his appeal!

Cardinal George Pell loses appeal against sexual abuse convictions

 21 August 2019

Australia

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has failed in a legal bid to quash his convictions in Australia.

Pell was jailed for six years in March after being found guilty of abusing two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s. He maintains his innocence.

A court of appeal rejected Pell's argument that the verdict was unfair.

The former Vatican treasurer, 78, will now consider a final appeal in the nation's highest court.

Last December, a jury unanimously convicted Pell of sexually abusing the 13-year-old boys at St Patrick's Cathedral.

The backlash to the verdict in Australia

Why Pell's conviction was kept a secret

Inside a strictly controlled trial

Pell challenged the verdict by arguing it was "unreasonable" because there was insufficient evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.

The cleric's lawyers said the jury had relied too heavily on the "uncorroborated evidence" of the sole surviving victim. But his appeal was dismissed 2-1 by a panel of three judges in Victoria's Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

"Justice [Chris] Maxwell and I accepted the prosecution's submission that the complainant was a compelling witness, was clearly not a liar, was not a fantasist and was a witness of truth," said Chief Justice Anne Ferguson.

Pell's conviction has rocked the Catholic Church, where he had been one of the Pope's closest advisers. The Australian cleric will be eligible for parole in October 2022.

What did the trial hear?

Pell was archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 when he found the two boys on cathedral premises and sexually assaulted them. He abused one of the boys again in 1997.

The trial heard testimony from one of the victims. The other died of a drug overdose in 2014.

A jury rejected the defence argument that the allegations were fantasies. It convicted Pell of one charge of sexually penetrating a child, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child.

The verdict was kept secret from the public until February , when additional charges of sexual offences against Pell were withdrawn by prosecutors.

What did the court of appeal say?

The two judges who upheld the conviction said that they "did not experience a doubt" about the verdict.

"We note that Cardinal Pell did not have to prove anything in the trial. Rather, at all stages of trial, the burden of proof rested with the prosecution," Justice Ferguson said.

Pell, who was present for the hearing, had faced the prospect of a retrial or being immediately set free if his appeal had been successful.

Pell expressionless

Phil Mercer, BBC News, Melbourne

It took less than five minutes for George Pell to learn his fate. Dressed in black and wearing a clerical collar, the man who was once in the Pope's inner circle was impassive as Justice Ferguson handed down the decision.

Occasionally, he looked down, his gaunt features betraying no emotion. When the news filtered through to campaigners and survivors of abuse outside, there was a loud cheer.

"Pell looks better in green than black," one activist told me, referring to the cardinal's prison uniform.

Campaigners accept, however, that Pell's fight for freedom probably isn't over and that a final court challenge could remain.

What's the reaction?

Pell's surviving victim, who cannot be named, said he was "grateful for a legal system that everyone can believe in".

"My journey has not been an easy one," he said in a statement read by his lawyer. "It has been all the more stressful because it involved a high-profile figure."

Pell's lawyers said he was "disappointed" with the decision and maintained his innocence.

Video captionPell called abuse claims against him 'disgraceful rubbish'

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters: "My sympathies are with the victims of child sexual abuse. Not just on this day, but on every single day."

He said Pell was likely to be stripped of his Order of Australia honour.

Will there be another appeal?

Pell's lawyers said they would "thoroughly examine" the judgement to make a possible last-ditch appeal in the High Court of Australia.

However, there is no guarantee that the court will agree to hear the case.

What does the Church say?

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said it accepted the court's decision, but added that it would "be distressing to many people". It reiterated its commitment to tackling abuse.

Cardinal Pell was demoted from the Pope's inner circle last year. His five-year term as Vatican treasurer elapsed soon afterwards.

Pope Francis continues to face calls for Pell to be defrocked.

 

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Ozlsn

I am now very curious about what the dissenting opinion said - whether they recommended a re-trial, or no trial, and on what grounds. I'm sure it will be out there tomorrow (if not already) but I am too tired to look right now.

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Syriana
6 hours ago, Ozlsn said:

I am now very curious about what the dissenting opinion said - whether they recommended a re-trial, or no trial, and on what grounds. I'm sure it will be out there tomorrow (if not already) but I am too tired to look right now.

Justice Wienberg dissented on the first reason for the appeal, that the jury could have found guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on the evidence presented - he agreed with the dismissal of the other grounds.

Link to the Catholic Herald article:

https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/08/21/pell-loses-appeal/

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Syriana
Posted (edited)

The Cardinal Pell saga continues, he's (unsurprisingly) going to appeal to Australia's High court:-

https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/08/27/cardinal-pell-to-appeal-to-australian-high-court/

Quote

This will be the cardinal's last chance to overturn his conviction

Cardinal George Pell will appeal his conviction to the Australian High Court, following the decision last week by the Court of Appeal in Victoria to uphold his conviction for child sexual abuse.

Sources close to the cardinal told CNA on August 26 that Pell would be exercising his final appeal and that, while the majority of “special leave to appeal” cases were not granted by the High Court, his case would likely be accepted given the controversy triggered by the split decision of the Appeal Court judgement.

In seeking to take his case to the High Court in Canberra, Australia’s supreme court, Pell will be exercising his last legal avenue to overturn a conviction which has divided opinion in the country and internationally.

Several Australian media outlets have reported that Pell will retain the same legal team which presented his case in Victoria, led by Brett Walker SC.

The cardinal was convicted on December 11, 2018, on five charges that he sexually abused two choristers 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 cardinal, 78, who remains an archbishop and a member of the College of Cardinals, was returned to prison immediately after court adjourned. He has been held in solitary confinement for 176 days. Pell and has not been permitted to celebrate Mass in prison.

Pell’s 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.”

At particular issue was the question of whether the jury which convicted Pell had properly weighed all of the evidence presented in his defense, or reached the determination of guilt despite the demonstration of clear “reasonable doubt” that he committed the crimes with which he was charged.

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, finding that it was open to the jury to find beyond “reasonable doubt about the truth of the complainant’s account.”

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 asked to establish the “impossibility” of his guilt and not merely reasonable doubt.

All three judges granted further leave to appeal on the ground of the unreasonableness of the jury’s conviction.

Media commentators and members of the Australian legal community have voiced concerns about the reasoning of the two-judge majority opinion and the wider implications its argumentation could have for standards of evidence in criminal trials.

Pell’s legal team are expected to use the dissent issued by Weinberg as the legal blueprint for their appeal to the High Court, which must be filed within three weeks of the Appeal Court decision last week.

The decision by Pell to pursue the final legal avenue open to him means that a canonical process in Rome will be further delayed until the civil process concludes in Australia.

Responding to the Court of Appeal decision last week, 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.”

 

Edited by nelliebelle1197
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