Anyone who has been convicted in an Australian Court has the right to appeal to a higher court.
If the Appeal Court recognises the grounds for the appeal are acceptable (generally these are points of law), an appeal hearing will follow. This will be heard by at least one judge.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, and there are no grounds for further appeals, then and only then the guilty verdict stands and the penalty applies.
It has been reported that George Pell will apply to appeal his conviction and it remains to be seen whether, if that application succeeds, he will seek bail pending that hearing or remain in custody – where he might well be safer!
In my opinion, if he were truly a Christian (and bearing in mind the numbers of children who suffered on his watch from abuse by parish priests, moved on from parish to parish bur never reported), he would withdraw his appeal, guilty or not, and take the punishment that should have gone to all those whom he protected.
Does he not, as a priest, tell us that Jesus Christ died for our sins?
Then is it not appropriate for one of his most senior priests to follow in his footsteps?
However, should he proceed with the appeal, then the question of stripping him of his honours should be in abeyance until the appeal proceedings are complete.
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