This morning, George Pell’s appeal against child sex convictions was dismissed in Victoria’s Supreme Court.
The 78-year-old lost by a two to one majority and will continue to serve his six-year sentence handed down in March, this year, for “sexual offenses” of two choirboys in 1996 during his time as Archbishop of Melbourne.
Two of the three judges turned down his primary ground of appeal that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable, and unanimously dismissed two other grounds of appeal that argued two errors were made in the way the trial was run.
Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said Pell will remain in prison until October 2022.
“He will remain eligible to apply for parole after he has served three years and eight months of the sentence.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Supreme Court’s decision “must be respected”.
“As is, at the time of the earlier finding, events like this today bring it all back and I would urge Australians who find themselves re-living these experiences to reach out to those around them, and to reach out to the services that are there for them,” Mr Morrison said.
“In whatever phase of life they are in, these things can take you back a long way. That’s where my sympathies are today. The courts have done their job, they’ve rendered their verdict. That’s the system of justice and it must be respected.”
Pell was handcuffed and left court in a van to be taken back to the Melbourne Assessment Prison. It is not yet known where he will serve out the remainder of his sentence.
If you’re struggling or need someone to talk to, please contact the following support lines: Lifeline on 13 11 14, Bravehearts on 1800 272 831, Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.