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Pell and the law

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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  1. Keitha Granville

    Very well explained, thank you.

    There has been discussion about forgiveness – the church teaches us that god forgives (I use lower case because I am fairly certain he doesn’t exist at this point) BUT I am pretty sure that you must repent, confess and ask for it. He hasn’t, because that would entail admitting guilt which he is not at this point.
    I guess for those who are true believers he will be judged by his god and consigned to hellfire and damnation for eternity.

    Probably not soon enough for some.

  2. Alcibiades

    Pell has been convicted, on all counts, not by a Judge, but by a ‘unanimous’ 12-0 verdict of his peers, a jury, including a pastor.

    Pell IS a convicted Paedophile and IS now a registered sex offender.

    Pell does not continue in some version of legal purgatory pending a possible granting of an appeal and if so subsequent ruling and direction.

    Pell IS convicted and awaiting in remand until his sentencing circa 13rd March whence he will then commence serving his likely lengthy sentence as the lowest of all prison inmates, a rock spider. He will not be ‘safe’ in prison, either from the inmates nor the guards, rock spiders never are.

    Should he be granted an appeal, the best he can hope for, is a retrial, given it was a unanimous jury verdict on all counts, and was itself, a retrial due the previous hung jury.

    Pell and his massive financed and resourced defence teams had two failures to acquit, and at the second go round he was unanimously convicted on all counts. Whilst these trials were run in favourable circumstances possible for the defence under multiple blanket supression orders ?

    Pell has denied and continues to deny all guilt, shows no remorse, none, regardless.

    Expecting or wishing or hoping for Pell to suddenly, after all that has passed, to assume any accountability or even consider seeking redemption is … bizarre.

    His odds at appeal would not, objectively, be considered good, one would think.

    “It’s a sad story, but it didn’t interest me” :- A single sentence from Pells testimony at the RC into Institutional Child abuse

    Says it all really.

  3. Terence

    Rosemary J36

    I fully understand your belief that Pell should be punished for all of the sins of a number of deviants in the catholic church in Australia, irrespective of his guilt relating to his personal charges.

    This same “group logic” likely applied to the Victorian police, the media, the court officers and the jury at his second trial.

    But, it’s all very scary for individual citizens who need to have trust in the judicial system. Should we legally be treated as our brother’s keepers?

  4. Diannaart


    Nowhere did Rosemary state that Pell is to be a scapegoat for “all of the sins of a number of deviants in the catholic church in Australia, irrespective of his guilt relating to his personal charges”.

    Pell was found guilty of sex with minors in a court of law, by a jury of his peers. He was defended by some of the best barristers money can buy. Yet even these lawyers could not prove Pell’s innocence, because he was not innocent. Therefore, he is to be punished for his crimes, not anyone else’s.

    This is how the judicial system is supposed to work.

  5. Terence


    This is extracted from the source shown below. It relates to the first trial which jurors found Pell not guilty 10 to 2.

    “Notwithstanding this evidence of Cardinal Pell’s innocence (an innocence affirmed by ten of the twelve members of the first trial jury), the second trial jury returned a verdict of 12–0 for conviction. Observers at the trial told me that the trial judge seemed surprised on hearing the verdict. The verdict and the finding of the first, hung jury suggest that, in the media circus surrounding Pell, a fair jury trial was virtually impossible. That point was recently conceded by the attorney general of the State of Victoria, who suggested that the law might be amended to permit bench trials by a judge alone in such cases — an option not afforded George Pell.”

    Texas archbishop: The border ’emergency’ is not what you think

  6. Alcibiades


    Respectfully, in future you may be able to offer something other than a quote from a source which could hardly be considered objective, or even without, at a minimum, a perception of bias, perhaps.

    A collection of opinions, mostly from overseas catholic commentariat, and openly outspoken declared partisan supporters of Pell.

    None of them have knowledge of the closed testimony of the survivor of the criminal sexual abuse of two minors by Pell.

    It is extremely improbable any of the almalgam of ‘opinion’ expressed in your ‘source’ have any better than second or third hand knowledge of the court proceedings, cherry picked, at best.

    ” … in the media circus surrounding Pell, a fair jury trial was virtually impossible.”

    This too is utterly indefensible, IMHO.

    Both trials were conducted under extensive suppression orders, my Dog, the guilty verdict was not even publicly released until that suppression order was lifted two months after the jury unanimously convicted Pell on all counts.

    What would satisfy you and your ‘source’ opinions re true justice before the Law ? Blanket acceptance of Pells dismissive denials without challenge, a cheery handshake, and an “all righty then, no need for you to face the blind scales of justice, ’cause you’re a Cardinal and a great conversationalist, here’s a get off free ‘No Justice’ voucher, off you go, cheerio.”

    Also of note, your ‘source’, like so many other apologists, has NOTHING to say about the criminal victims of child sexual abuse by Pell, one suicided, the other having suffered, and to continue to suffer imposed torments until death at the hands of Pell.

    Respectfully, pffft.

  7. Alcibiades

    Please accept my apologies Diannart, my post wast meant in reply to ‘Terence’, and mistakenly addressed to you in error.

  8. Diannaart


    Your source is Catholic World report.

    Or you could’ve found something similar from Andrew Bolt or Miranda Devine or any of the Murdoch press – all of whom have been campaigning for a man who proclaims on Catholic youth day in 2002.

    “Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop, the Most Rev George Pell, has attracted international criticism and come under strident attack from local sex abuse victims’ support groups, after his apparent assertion at the World Youth Day that abortion was a greater crime than pedophilia perpetrated by priests.


    Well … he would say that.

  9. Diannaart


    Your apology is accepted.

  10. RomeoCharlie29

    I am worried by the apparent triumphalism in the reporting of the Pell trial results. As has been pointed out, numerous times in numerous outlets, an appeal has been lodged and until that appeal is either rejected or heard, and indeed any further appeals have been decided, Pell remains in a sort of legal limbo. I am no supporter of Pell, indeed I think he’s probably guilty of much more than the matters here, but it does concern me that the blanket, sensationalist coverage of this case might jeopardise a retrial.

  11. Mark Needham

    Am I to be held responsible for the sins of my fore bears?
    I hope not.
    I expect not.
    I will not.

    As to Pell. I can not stand the man. But he has not had a fair shake of the bottle.

    Mark Needham

  12. Florence Howarth

    I believe Pell was convicted 11 12 2018. Why has he not lodged an appeal before this? He was given bail by Kidd on compassion grounds.

  13. Terence


    An excellent vent!

    Watch the blood pressure.

  14. Diannaart

    Yes, Florence, Pell was convicted back in December 2018. And, yes, bail was given so he could have necessary knee surgery. The verdict was being kept from the public because another trial was scheduled for claims of Pell molesting boys in a swimming pool. When this hearing was cancelled, the initial 2018 verdict could be announced.

  15. Rossleigh

    Pell was convicted by a jury who heard all the evidence in a court of law. He’s not in some sort of limbo, neither has he been convicted by the media like some people.
    Lots of convicted criminals appeal their decisions, sometimes years afterwards. We don’t consider everyone in jail not guilty just because they assert that they are and may be in the process of appealing their conviction or sentence.

  16. Shaun Newman

    I agree he should be given the benefit of the doubt until his appeal has been heard. It would be a very brave judge indeed who would dismiss the guilty verdict. I want to see this bloke go through every legal avenue available to him.

    My personal choice of punishment is not available these days in Australia (crucifixion) however ‘rock spiders’ are not well liked ‘on the inside’ so he may well be in for a special type of retribution.

    I believe in justice being done and being seen to be done, re gangsters perishing in prison.

  17. Diannaart



    Shaun Newman

    Once a verdict has been handed down, there is no benefit of doubt – the jury have already assessed room for doubt, being the people to whom evidence, argument and counter argument were presented.

    Criminals may seek an appeal. If an appeal is granted and further evidence proves the initial verdict to be wrong, then a verdict may be quashed. For example, in the case of Lindy Chamberlain and husband, were convicted in 1982, had several appeals rejected, until 1986 when new evidence was provided and finally in 1988 the Chamberlains convictions were quashed.

    If Pell ever presents sufficient evidence to warrant an appeal which exonerates his conviction then and only then, will he be considered innocent of criminal offence. Right here and right now, Pell is a convicted paedophile.

  18. RosemaryJ36

    Terence: I did not suggest that WE should punish Pell for the sins of others. I suggested that, if his religion is genuine, he might follow in his master’s footsteps and take the sins of others on his shoulders by way of penance. And, incidentally, I think I was incorrect in suggesting that his conviction for his offences is in abeyance pending the appeal.

  19. Kyran

    Removing the emotive issues and looking at the procedure may be a worthwhile exercise. As commenters have noted, this conviction was recorded in December. It was only ‘broadcast’ when the reason for the suppression orders became moot, ie that a second trial had been discontinued. My memory was that the time allowed was 28 days.
    Notwithstanding RomeoCharlie29’s assertion that “an appeal has been lodged”, and allowing for the possibility that the details couldn’t be broadcast due to the suppression orders, this morning’s article in The Guardian suggests that an appeal has not been lodged (insofar as they are still postulating on the grounds of appeal, rather than the existence of an appeal.


    The process is stipulated on the County Court website.


    The time limit, according to the Supreme Court website, is 28 days.


    Of course, you can seek an extension of the time, but given the notoriety of this case, you would presume Richter would have been ‘locked and loaded’ in December. These are merely wonderings, as I have no legal qualification whatsoever. Any lawyers out there?
    “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.”
    The township of Ballarat has been torn by this individual for decades. The entire church is now riven in that, months after the fact, they are struggling to find reason for the unreasonable. They have need to issue a statement decrying his appalling behaviour. Their delay has allowed time for us mere mortals to question how this individual was put in charge of the legal system for addressing complaints against the likes of him, ignoring for the minute his knowledge of this behaviour and his shifting about known offenders.
    The last thing you would accuse the hierarchy of the catholic church of is christianity. It was thousands of years ago the offer of Jesus was not to build a church, but to build a refuge. The significance of those words is only coming into play now.
    It is not my intention to disparage people of faith, believers of a religious or spiritual imperative. It is my intention to question how they could possibly declare allegiance to an institution that ignores its own teachings.
    Thank you Rosemary J36 and commenters. Take care

  20. David Bruce

    From the evidence I have read, Pell was probably a young victim himself. Sad he has never experienced the love of a good woman!

  21. Graeme

    We have to remember that this trial was in a criminal court. It was not a civil case matter. It was a criminal matter.
    Also the jury and other officials have the complete knowledge of what was stated during the trial and no one else.

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