Cardinal George Pell's appeal for sexual assault conviction is rejected
This was the verdict from Australia's Supreme Court of Victoria for Cardinal George Pell's appeal over whether his conviction for sexual assault would be overturned or not on Wednesday morning.
The orders of the court are one leave to appeal is granted, with respect to ground one only, and the appeal is dismissed.
By a majority of two to one, “the Court of Appeal has dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for the commission of sexual offenses.”
The 78 year-old cardinal and Vatican's former Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy was convicted in March for four indecent acts and one for sexual violence going back to the 1990s; and was sentenced to six years in prison.
The second trial was conducted by three judges who re-examined Cardinal George Pell's case. The cardinal filed his appeal, which took place in June basing it on three grounds: one regarding the reliability of the evidence used to convict him and the other two in regard to legal issues concerning the conducting of the trial.
As of now Cardinal George Pell can make another appeal. Additionally, he will be eligible to apply for parole after serving three years and eight months of his sentence.
He has persistently claimed he is innocent of these convictions.
Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office,has issued a statement expressing the Holy See's respect for the court's decisions and its commitment to addressing cases of sexual abuse.
Director of the Holy See Press Office
“At this time, together with the Church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members of the clergy who commit such abuse.”
During this time, the Vatican has imposed restrictive measures on the cardinal, forbidding him to celebrate Mass in public; and avoid any contact with minors.
Additionally, a canonical process has also been launched. If convicted in this trial, he could even be expelled from the College of Cardinals or the priesthood.