The High Court of Australia this morning granted leave for convicted child abuser George Pell to appeal against his Victorian convictions.
Justices Gordon and Edelman gave Pell’s lawyers leave to appeal to the full court ‘as on an appeal’.
As a result of that, the full bench of the court will hear the substantive arguments before deciding whether to make a decision on the case.
A Victorian court originally convicted the Catholic cardinal on five counts of sexual abuse of two boys.
Only one of the 13-year-old choir boys he assaulted gave evidence at Pell’s trial.
The other turned to drugs within a year of the assault and died of an accidental heroin overdose in 2014.
After his conviction, Pell’s lawyers appealed to the Victorian Court of Appeal.
That court dismissed his appeal in a 2-1 majority decision.
Defenders of the cardinal seized on the opinion of the dissenting judge to claim Pell’s innocence.
Justice Mark Weinberg said he would have acquitted Pell on all charges in his dissenting opinion.
George Pell legal saga will now drag on
The High Court’s decision will see the Pell saga drag on for many more months.
Initially, Pell’s lawyers will lodge a formal appeal. Then, the court will hear that appeal in a hearing next year.
Meanwhile, the Vatican will delay making a decision of Pell’s status as a cardinal of the Catholic Church until all legal avenues are exhausted.
Also, sixty pages of the Royal Commission into child abuse will remain redacted until the appeal is decided. Those pages concern evidence pertaining to the church’s Ballarat diocese.
Pell previously worked in that diocese, as did a number of notorious pedophiles.
Pell is currently eight months into his six-year jail sentence. He must serve three years and eight months of that sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Claims George Pell will die in jail
Lawyers for George Pell previously noted in court that because of his poor health, the 78-year-old will likely die in jail.
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