VICTORIA, Australia, August 14, 2019
The three judges in the Appellate Court of Victoria, Australia, will hand down their verdict in Cardinal George Pell’s appeal on August 21 at 9:30 a.m. local time, according to Australian media. The verdict will be live-streamed, as before, on the Supreme Court’s website.
The appeal was heard over the course of two days in June, with Justices Anne Ferguson, Chris Maxwell, and Mark Winberg presiding. Justices may choose to order a retrial of the case, overturn it, or uphold the guilty verdict.
A synopsis of the appeal Cardinal Pell’s legal team made includes three main points for overturning the conviction. The first was the exclusion, by Judge Peter Kidd, of a 19-minute video that displayed in detail where individuals would have been located in the cathedral during the time of the alleged sexual assaults. The second argument was that Cardinal Pell was not arraigned directly in front of a jury – a “fundamental irregularity” in legal proceedings. The third cited that the jury itself reached an unreasonable verdict.
Questions continue to mount about whether Cardinal Pell’s attempted clean-up of Vatican finances – including a deep-diving external audit of the Vatican Bank by Price Waterhouse Coopers – is connected to the sudden, unsubstantiated investigation (“Operation Tethering”) of his person, and the later charges of sexual assault.