George Pell, the most senior Catholic to be found guilty of child sex abuse has lost his appeal over his convictions.
Pell was found guilty in December 2018 for the sexual abuse of two choir boys in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 and 1997.
The Court of Appeal rejected his argument that the verdict was unfair and Pell who was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in March 2019, will consider whether he wishes to make a final appeal in the nation’s highest Court.
Pell argued that his guilty verdict was “ unreasonable because there was insufficient evidence to convict him beyond reasonable doubt.” Pell’s lawyers stated that the jury had relied too heavily on the” uncorroborated evidence of the sole surviving victim”.
The appeal was dismissed by 2 – 1 Judges. The two judges who upheld the conviction said that they “did not experience a doubt” about the verdict. “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 surviving victim said he was:
“Grateful for a legal system that everyone can believe in. My journey has not been an easy one. 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.