News

High Court quashes George Pell convictions

By Shepparton News

Cardinal George Pell has won his appeal bid to the High Court and will be freed from prison.

The court unanimously found Pell's conviction for child sex abuse should be overturned and he should immediately be released from prison.

"The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant's guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and the verdicts of acquittal be entered in their places," a summary of their decision, handed down on Tuesday, said.

Pell will be released from Barwon Prison, near Geelong. He has spent more than 400 days behind bars.

A jury found Pell guilty of five charges in December 2018, accepting evidence of one complainant that the Cardinal had sexually abused him and another 13-year-old choirboy at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.

An appeal to Victoria's Court of Appeal last year was unsuccessful.

But the full bench of seven judges revealed in a unanimous judgment on Tuesday that the jury should have had reasonable doubt as to Pell's guilt.

Pell has always maintained his innocence.