Sunday 8 December 2019

Court agrees to hear final appeal over Pell's sex assault conviction

Australia

George Pell is serving six years for sex assaults on two boys. Photo: AP
George Pell is serving six years for sex assaults on two boys. Photo: AP

Sonali Paul

Australia's High Court yesterday agreed to hear a final appeal from Vatican treasurer George Pell over his conviction for sexually assaulting two teenage choirboys.

Pell, who is in jail serving a six-year sentence handed down by a lower court in March, turned to the High Court after a first appeal upheld his conviction.

The High Court appeal hearing, to be presided over by a full bench of five or seven judges, will be held in March 2020 at the earliest.

Pell, the most senior Catholic official worldwide to be jailed for child sex offences, will remain in prison while his lawyers prepare for the High Court appeal.

In a brief statement, the Vatican said it "acknowledges" the court's decision "aware that the cardinal has always maintained his innocence".

Irish Independent

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