Australia’s High Court will announce on Wednesday whether it will hear Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction on sexual abuse charges.
Two judges on the country’s highest court will announce whether the full court’s seven judges will hear their appeal, the Associated Press reports.
The court rejects about 90% of appeals.
In August, sources close to the cardinal told CNA that they thought Pell’s case would likely be accepted given the controversy triggered by the split decision of the Court of Appeals of Victoria, which rejected the cardinal’s appeal.
The cardinal, now 78, was convicted Dec. 11, 2018, on five charges that he sexually abused two 13-year-old choir boys after Sunday Mass while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and 1997.
He was sentenced to six years in prison, of which he must serve at least three years and eight months before being eligible to apply for parole.
The controversial case has drawn significant public attention, with Pell’s defenders arguing he could not have committed sexual abuse in the sacristy after Mass, which was always crowded with people, without anyone noticing.
Pell’s lawyers have argued that two state appeals court judges made two errors when they dismissed his appeal in August.
Pell was incorrectly required to prove that it was impossible he committed the offenses, rather than putting the burden of proof on prosecutors, the cardinal’s attorneys argued. They also said that the judges were wrong to find the jury’s verdicts reasonable. The attorneys have argued there was reasonable doubt about whether Pell had the opportunity to commit the crimes.
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