Legal

Courtney Allan

Cheers erupt in courtroom as George Pell’s appeal against conviction is denied

Cheers erupt in courtroom as George Pell’s appeal against conviction is denied

George Pell has lost his bid for freedom with his appeal against child sex convictions being dismissed in court.

By a majority of two to one, all eyes were on Victoria’s Supreme Court as the three judges dismissed the appeal by ordering Pell to “return to prison”.

According to news.com.au, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson was strict.

 “He will continue to serve his sentence of six years imprisonment,” Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said.

“He will remain eligible to apply for parole after he has served three years and eight months of the sentence.”

Pell sat and digested this information quietly as he listened to the Chief Justice lay down her verdict. As he realised his appeal was rejected, he looked dejected while hunching forward.

He was led out of the courtroom just after 10 am and taken back to prison to serve out the rest of his jail sentence.

As his appeal was denied, cheers were heard inside the courtroom as dozens of people watched the appeal on the livestream outside.

Pell shared the courtroom with the media, his own supporters and the family members of the two boys he was found guilty of sexually abusing in 1996.

Chief Justice Ferguson said that the three judges watched the recordings of the trial, which included a recorded interview with Cardinal Pell.

“Those recordings went for more than 30 hours and we’ve watched them more than once,” she said.

Chief Justice Ferguson said the judges “did not experience a doubt” and “throughout his evidence, the complainant came across as somebody who was telling the truth”.

She also rejected the notion that George Pell’s robes were “not able to be moved” to reveal his genitals because of various layers of material. She told the court “the robes were capable of being maneuvered ... pulled apart”.

Despite his appeal being rejected, those close to Pell say that he may continue his fight to walk free and that his lawyers are looking to take his appeal to the High Court of Australia. Pell has always maintained his innocence.