• Cardinal George Pell was released from prison on April 7, 2020 after the High Court quashed his five convictions for child sexual abuse.
The High Court has set a date to hear Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his convictions for abusing two choirboys in 1996 while he was Catholic archbishop of Melbourne.
The case will be heard on March 11 and 12 in Canberra.
Pell, 78, was convicted on five charges – one count of sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16 and four counts of committing an indecent act with, or in the presence of a child.
In March last year, he was sentenced to six years’ jail with a non-parole period of three years and eight months.
In August, two of three judges from Victoria’s Court of Appeal turned down Pell’s primary ground of appeal, that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable.
The judges unanimously dismissed two other grounds of appeal which argued that there were errors in the way the trial was run.
The High Court case will be Pell’s final chance to seek to have his convictions overturned.
His offending took place in the sacristy at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, in what the sentencing judge described as a “brazen and forcible sexual attack on the victims”.
Pell was the archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s and eventually rose to the powerful position of Prefect for the Secretariat for the Economy, a position which essentially made him the Vatican treasurer.