Now that Cardinal George Pell filed an appeal against his conviction to Australia’s High Court on Tuesday, the next step in the process will be for the prosecution to issue a response, according to a source close to the cardinal’s legal team.
The prosecution has three weeks to file a reply, the source told the Register, after which the cardinal’s lawyers have seven days to respond to that reply.
It is then up to the High Court to make a decision to either reject the application, or give consent to hear the appeal.
But the source said that decision could take a few months, and then the date of a hearing might not be until early next year, unless they believe it should be expedited on the strength of the appeal and the high-profile case.
The Australian prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy filed an “application for special leave” to the High Court on Tuesday, following the Victoria Court of Appeal’s 2-1 decision on Aug. 21 to uphold his conviction for child sexual abuse.
The cardinal, who has always strenuously denied the allegations and pleaded his innocence, was found guilty in December of sexually abusing two former choirboys at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, while he was the Archbishop of Melbourne.
Usually, the High Court does not grant special leave applications but it is thought Cardinal Pell’s case would be accepted due to the fact that one of the three appellate judges in Victoria, Justice Mark Weinberg, dissented from the other two in their decision to uphold the cardinal’s conviction.