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Cardinal Pell to appeal sex abuse conviction to Australia’s supreme court

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

CANBERRA, Australia, August 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Australian Cardinal George Pell has one last chance of acquittal from a conviction of five counts of child sexual abuse. 

The prelate will appeal his convictions for historic child sexual abuse to the Australian High Court in Canberra, CNA reported today.  Although not guaranteed, it is believed that the High Court will agree to hear the appeal. 

This follows the decision of the state of Victoria’s Court of Appeal last week to uphold Pell’s convictions. The decision was split 2:1 against the cardinal; Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Justice Chris Maxwell, the president of the Victoria Court of Appeal, declared that Pell was guilty of the five charges. 

Justice Mark Weinberg, dissenting, believed that Pell should have been acquitted.    

The conviction of Pell on no other evidence than two uncorroborated stories by a single complaint has some Catholics believing that an anti-Catholic, anti-Pell animus is involved, both in the police force and in the courts. 

An Australian source told LifeSiteNews that the composition of the High Court “is not heartening,” saying that at least one of the justices is an LGBT activist and that all but two were appointed by left-wing governments.   

The Justices of the Australian High Court are Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC, Virginia Bell AC, Stephen Gageler AC, Patrick Keane AC, Geoffrey Nettle AC, Michelle Gordon AC, and James Edelman. 

AC indicates that the bearer is a Companion of the Order of Australia. Pell is also a Companion of this Order. 

Virginia Bell AC, who has a female partner, is the first lesbian to serve on the High Court and was a marcher at Australia’s watershed 1978 Mardi Gras LGBT rights parade in Sydney. She assisted with the legal defense of those arrested during the march and continued to advocate for LGBT causes.  

The High Court is the last court of appeal in Australia. 

On December 11, 2018, Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of two counts of child sex assault by a jury after only four days of deliberation. A second planned trial was dropped in February 2019, due to a lack of evidence and because one of Pell’s principal accusers had died. In March 2019, Justice Peter Kidd sentenced Pell to six years in prison, with no chance of parole for three years, eight months. 

Pell has always maintained that he is innocent of all accusations of child sexual abuse.

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