Cardinal George Pell, who has already served over 400 days in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, has just been unanimously acquitted by Australia’s highest court of all charges:
— 7NEWS Sunshine Coast (@7NewsSC) April 7, 2020
Here’s more from Daily Telegraph:
George Pell has been sensationally acquitted of all charges and is set to be released from prison.
Pell, 78, has spent 404 days behind bars after being found guilty of abusing two choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s.
But the High Court today ruled the jury’s verdicts, on four counts of indecent assault and one of sexual penetration of a child, were unsafe.
Pell is set to be released from prison imminently.
Cardinal Pell took his fight to the High Court after the Victorian Court of Appeal dismissed an earlier appeal in a majority ruling.
He relied on two grounds of appeal, centred on the argument that the jury that convicted had no right to do so in light of all of the evidence at trial.
Prosecutors have maintained that not only was the offending not impossible, the jury was entitled to its verdict based on the strength of evidence from the single living complainant.
Pell has vehemently denied any wrongdoing since being charged in 2017 following a lengthy police investigation.
He immediately resigned as Vatican treasurer and returned from Rome to Australia to face charges and clear his name.
Other claims were also unlikely, he said, particularly that the boys would have had access to altar wine, which was “always locked away” after mass.
“You could scarcely imagine a place that was more unlikely to be committing paedophilia crimes than the sacristy of a cathedral after Sunday mass,” he said.
This 45-minute police interview was all the jury heard from Pell.
But through their verdicts they preferred the evidence given by the complainant who sources who witnessed his evidence described as a wholly credible.
For much of his year in prison Pell was held in 23-hour lock down at the Melbourne Assessment Prison because of fears for his safety.
He was moved to Barwon Prison after a security scare in January.
Legal experts say Pell’s High Court appeal will go down as one of the most significant in Australian history, in particular in regards to what the court says about the standing of juries.
I don’t know much about the details of this case, but Patrick Madrid, who I listen to quite often, has maintained for a long time that Cardinal Pell was innocent based on his study of the case:
I firmly believe that Cardinal George Pell is innocent. It seems he is personally living out the late Cardinal George’s ominous prediction: “I expect to die in bed; my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” https://t.co/WE36dj9rnt
— Patrick Madrid ✌🏼 (@patrickmadrid) July 20, 2019
That was from last July. Thankfully, Madrid was right and Pell is now a free man.
Below is the two page PDF from the high court of Australia announcing the decision: