Cardinal George Pell will be released today after the High Court of Australia quashed his child sexual abuse convictions.
The unanimous decision will see Pell acquitted of all convictions.
In a historic ruling, Australia’s highest-ranked Catholic official Cardinal George Pell has been acquitted of his sexual assault convictions.
Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic official, in 2018 Pell was tried for the sexual assault of two 13-year old boys whilst acting as the Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. In December 2018, he was convicted of five charges. So far, he has only served 400 days of his six-year sentence.
In August last year, Pell’s first appeal attempt was denied by the Victorian Court Of Appeal who upheld his original conviction by a majority of two to one.
Now the country’s highest court has quashed the convictions, and there will be no further trials. Perhaps the most landmark criminal decision in Australian history, the ruling was announced to a mostly empty courtroom due to social distancing laws.
The most remarkable moment in the High Court, three people in the public gallery, and four gathered by the door to hear the faint voice of chief Justice Susan Kiefel say #Pell will be let free. No cheers or jeers. There’s no one else here
— Ben Smee (@BenSmee) April 7, 2020
Speaking on the decision, the bench found that there was “a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof.”
Pell will walk free today.