George Pell's Final Bid To Appeal Child Sex Abuse Sentence: Here's What You Need To Know

Disgraced Cardinal George Pell will remain behind bars today, while his legal team appeal for his conviction to be overturned for the final time at the High Court.

The 78-year-old's hearing has been set for two days, but Pell won't know what's being discussed in the court room.

The country's most senior Catholic is far from Canberra,  living an isolated existence in the maximum-security Barwon Prison, near Geelong in Victoria.

He won’t appear in court or via a video link, and there’ll be no live stream of proceedings as there was at his previous appeal in Melbourne.

Cardinal George Pell at the Vatican in June, 2017. Image: AAP

The High Court hearing will begin just two days shy of the anniversary of the Cardinal’s County Court sentencing.

Pell was convicted in 2018 for abusing two 13-year-old choir boys shortly after becoming archbishop of Melbourne in 1996.

He was found guilty on four counts of an indecent act with a child under 16, and one count of sexual penetration.

George Pell arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria IN 2018. Image: AAP

The first victim gave evidence against Pell, but the second died in 2014.

The Cardinal’s legal team will argue the jury verdicts on five counts of child sexual abuse were unreasonable.

They will attempt to argue belief in a victim is not enough to erase doubt raised by other witnesses about whether the opportunity to commit the offences existed.

A protestor holding placards opposing the Catholic Church protests outside the Victorian Supreme court in 2019. Image: AAP

Those 20 crown witnesses were people involved in the rituals of solemn Sunday mass at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The legal community remains divided over whether the Cardinal should have been convicted on the evidence of one man alone.

Pell walks from his car in Melbourne 2019. Image: Getty

But two of the three judges from Pell's earlier appeal found the victim’s evidence compelling and called him a "witness of truth".

Criminal lawyers are hesitant to predict how the High Court will act, possibly because this case has previously thrown up surprises for the country’s brightest legal minds.

Pell received a six-year jail term and must serve at least three years and eight months.


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