George Pell loses appeal against child sex abuse convictions

Cardinal George Pell is the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual offences

Shortly after his conviction, Pell was removed from the so-called C9 Council of Cardinals that are effectively the Pope's cabinet and inner circle of advisers.

A trial ran previous year involving two complainants who were choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne more than two decades ago. The appeal court will give their verdict on August 21.

Convicted pedophile cardinal George Pell had his appeal against child sex abuse charges rejected by an Australian court on Wednesday.

Lawyer Lisa Flynn said the father had an "extremely tough wait" for this judgment and the court made the correct decision.

In December a jury found Cardinal Pell - the former Archbishop of Melbourne - guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys in 1996.

He will continue to serve his sentence of six years' imprisonment. Speaking to Nine newspapers, Gabrielle Shaw, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood in the United Kingdom, said that Pell walking free would send the message that "whatever the rights and wrongs" of the case, "if you are sufficiently rich and powerful the system will work for you more than it works for victims".

Pell's legal team is expected to appeal the decision to the High Court. He wore a cleric's collar but not his cardinal's ring.

If the judges accept that position, Pell will walk free on Wednesday.

Clerical sexual abuse and the Catholic church's handling of such cases worldwide have thrown Francis' papacy into turmoil.

By a majority of 2-1, the Victorian Court of Appeal has dismissed Pell's appeal against his child sex abuse convictions.

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The 78-year-old needed three Court of Appeal judges to agree the jury must have had reasonable doubts for his conviction to be overturned.

The two judges "accepted the prosecution's submission that the complainant was a very compelling witness, clearly not a liar, was not a fantasist and was a witness of truth", Ferguson said.

Justice Ferguson's summary will be live streamed.

On Monday, the father of the second victim - who died of a drug overdose in 2014 - expressed hopes that "justice would prevail" and that the ordeal would soon be over.

"I am grateful for a legal system that everyone can believe in, where everybody is equal before the law and no one is above the law", he added.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Cardinal George Pell will be stripped of his Order of Australia honor after he lost his court appeal. "The disgraced cardinal is in the right place behind bars".

Pell had already faced two juries, after his first trial in 2018 ended in a hung jury.

Pell challenged the verdict by arguing it was "unreasonable" because there was insufficient evidence for the jury to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.

Pell did not testify at either of his trials.

Pell did not appeal his sentence, so the six-year prison term, with a minimum of three years and eight months before he's eligible for parole, stands.

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