The cardinal was the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty of sexually abusing children.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s highest court on Tuesday overturnedthe sexual abuse convictionof Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty in the church’s crisis of clergy abuse against children.Cardinal Pell, 78, who was the Vatican’s chief financial officer and an adviser to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison last March for
molesting two boys after Sunday Massin 1996.He walked free on Tuesday after a bench of seven judges ruled that the jury ought to have entertained a doubt about Cardinal Pell’s guilt. “Compounding improbabilities” led the judges to conclude that the verdicts on five counts reached in 2018 were “unreasonable or cannot be supported by the evidence.”
The decision, handed down by Chief Justice Susan Kiefel to a largely empty courtroom in Brisbane because of social distancing measures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, shocked Catholics in Australia and around the world.Cardinal Pell had receded from view during his time in prison, and with the exception of his die-hard supporters, most Australians had come to accept his guilt as an established fact.
His case had dragged on for years. His first trial ended with a hung jury; his second carried on with a heavyshroud of secrecyas suppression orders limited what could be reported or even scrutinized.The testimony of the case’s most important witness, a former choirboy who stepped forward with his claims in 2015, was never made public, not even in transcripts.
The cardinal had been convicted on five counts related to two separate incidents when he was the archbishop of Melbourne, making him the first bishop to be found guilty in a criminal court for sexually abusing minors, according toBishopAccountability.org
, which tracks cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.The sentence, which fell far short of the 50-year maximum, was closely scrutinized, but held up on its initial appeal, which was based in part on Cardinal Pell’s contention that there was not sufficient evidence to support the convictions.
In its judgment on Tuesday, the High Court found that for all five charges, there were many improbabilities that had not been fully considered by the jury. There is “a significant possibility,” the judges wrote, summarizing the case, “that an innocent person has been convicted.”
The problems started, the decision suggests, with the accuser. Because a second complainant had died before a trial began, the case was “wholly dependent upon the acceptance of the truthfulness and the reliability” of one man’s testimony, the judges wrote.
While the jury found him credible, along with a majority of judges in the Court of Appeal, the High Court sided with a dissenting appeals court judge who stated that the jury ought to have had a reasonable doubt about Cardinal Pell’s guilt based on testimony from other witnesses who argued that Cardinal Pell’s regular Sunday routine failed to match what his accuser described.Read more: The New York Times »
Catholics getting away with crimes again. Must be easy when most the leadership is Catholic. The Roman catholic church is a known pedo ring.... The trial court had a gag order which was not lifted until Cardinal Pell's conviction was overturned. The gag order was done because the malicious prosecutors (and the leftist media) didn't want the public to see what a sham & slander the case was.
Clearly he was not found guilty as stated in the acquittal. Innocent until proven guilty. casedismissed CardinalPell innocentman This bishop has no sexual assault on children at all! This sexual assault is a political persecution of Trump's gang! The trump Gang is trashing the bishop. Trump is a shameless bastard! Trump is a hypocrite.
this just adds to the list of things you can do in australia with decent chances of going free. :^) so far its bashing emergency service workers. killing people. and now sexual abuse to minors, ashamed to be an australian Should read Breaking News: Australia’s top court overturned the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Catholic leader found NOT guilty of sexual abuse
He’s gonna celebrate with an altar boy party. There is no Evil in the God's House, right? Well, I think so I just can't say the same when it comes to churches... Looks like the Vatican has been wisely investing its Coronavirus aid money. For God's sake, WHAT THE HEELLLLL? It is so laughable now to Australia justice
Perfect timing while the public is in lock down! Fascism takes over down under? Kikels on suicide watch so now he can keep on sexually abuse kids, And this is why Australia is garbage so much for caring about victims. He should have been killed in prison!! This is sick. Does the Australian top court have judges who are sexual molesters and predators like the U.S one? It would explain the reversal of the conviction.
I guess highest-ranking says all about overturning... shame on all of you members of that 'top' court... Our courts are a joke Acquittal does not equal innocence Noooooooooop...... That totally sucks. Why should he get away the abuse? polit2k Cardinal comes out on top is courts position 😿 WTF?! Just another connected person who's above the law
Que Sad Chorromil años con el mismo problema sexual 🙄 No dejan de ser noticia Fantastic result for justice. The fact the high court quashed this conviction 7-0 shows the original verdict was wrong in law and manifestly unjust. Cardinal Pell was convicted on basis of one witness who changed his story during the trial
Unbelievable... The rockspider gets off and his victims continue to suffer. The courts are a sham and a disgrace. pell guiltyasHell Australia: The Land Felt Under (of young boys) I am disgusted that this has been the out come ! 'a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof' THANK YOU GOD...HIGH COURT - no more joke with justice
It’s a sad day for us in Australia! Good Lord! Rare unanimous vote - the crown case was a sham Crazy the evidence in that case was overwhelming but seems Vatican interfered Orange Corona Pandemic A national embarrassment. Permanent stain on our Courts. This is NEWS 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔
Australian court dismisses cardinal's sex abuse convictionsCANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia 's highest court has dismissed the convictions of the most senior Catholic found guilty of child sex abuse. High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel... SMH. I'm not shocked. I bet he's coming to America as an advisor to Trump
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