Cardinal George Pell appeals abuse convictions

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 5, 2019 - Duration: 01:47s

Cardinal George Pell appeals abuse convictions

Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell has appeared in an Australian court for an appeal hearing against his convictions for sexually abusing two choir boys in the 1990s.

Ed Giles reports.

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Cardinal George Pell appeals abuse convictions

Cardinal George Pell has returned to court to fight for the appeal of his sexual abuse conviction.

The former Vatican treasurer was convicted to six years in jail in a Melbourne court last December on charges of sexually abusing two choir boys in the 1990s.

The conviction made Pell the most senior Catholic in the world to be found guilty of child sex offences.

And the case has divided Catholics worldwide.

Pell's lawyers are arguing his appeal on a number of grounds and if the court rules in his favour the cardinal could be released or face a retrial.

Reuters Sonali Paul was at the court.

(Soundbite) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT SONALI PAUL, SAYING: "Pell's lawyers are appealing this case on three grounds, the first is that the Jury reached an unreasonable verdict based on all of the evidence that was presented.

And the second is that the judge is wrong to have blocked the defence from showing a video presentation which they were going to use in their closing arguments, but the judge actually said that it was introducing a new piece of evidence and it looked like a reconstruction of the case rather than just a closing argument, something to bolster the closing argument.

And the third ground that they are appealing on is that Pell was arraigned or actually made his not guilty plea not in the presence of the jury, but rather via video link and they said that was a fundamental irregularity." Pell remains a cardinal while awaiting the outcome of the appeal and can only be dismissed from the priesthood if he is found guilty under Vatican rules.

The appeal will continue for a second day on Thursday (June 6) but a ruling could take weeks to be delivered.

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