Cardinal George Pell is innocent, and a free man once again: after 405 days of imprisonment, his release is imminent after Australia’s High Court overturned his conviction of five counts of historical child sex abuse.
In a summary judgement, the High Court said the jury should have doubted that Pell was guilty but failed to do so, essentially saying the jury knew they were convicting an innocent man:
“The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offenses for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place.”
Furthermore, the High Court said the Victorian Court of Appeal, which dismissed Pell’s original appeal in August, “failed to engage with the question of whether there remained a reasonable possibility that the offending had not taken place, such that there ought to have been a reasonable doubt as to the applicant’s guilt.”
The High Court’s ruling that “the appellant’s convictions be quashed and judgments of acquittal be entered in their place” cannot be challenged. Pell’s accuser has yet to respond on the ruling.
Read below Cardinal George Pell’s statement, his first public statement since being imprisoned.
Watch below a livestream of ABC Australia covering George Pell’s release from prison.