George Pell walks free from prison after appeal granted
Cardinal George Pell’s appeal to the High Court has been granted and convictions quashed.
The Cardinal has been released from Barwon Prison today after spending 404 days behind bars.
All seven judges unanimously agreed there was not enough evidence to convict Pell.
He is not entitled to compensation.
In a statement, the Cardinal said: “I hold no ill will toward my accuser”. (See full statement below)
Australia’s most senior Catholic was sentenced to a minimum of three years and eight months in prison after a jury found him guilty of child sex abuse.
In August, the Victorian Court of Appeal unanimously rejected two of the grounds for appeal, and a 2-1 decision rejected the third ground.
Shine Lawyers’ Lisa Flynn is representing the father of the deceased choirboy allegedly assaulted by Cardinal George Pell.
She tells Deborah Knight her client was struggling to understand the outcome and will continue his civil suit.
“He’s understandably shocked and really disappointed by the outcome. It makes him question the jury system and what it stands for in Australia.
“He holds George Pell responsible for the abuse of his son.”
Click PLAY below to hear the full interview
FULL STATEMENT FROM GEORGE PELL:
I have consistently maintained my innocence while suffering from a serious injustice.
This has been remedied today with the High Court’s unanimous decision.
I look forward to reading the Judgment and reasons for the decision in detail.
I hold no ill will toward my accuser, I do not want my acquittal to add to the hurt and bitterness so many feel; there is certainly hurt and bitterness enough.
However my trial was not a referendum on the Catholic Church; nor a referendum on how Church authorities in Australia dealt with the crime of paedophilia in the Church.
The point was whether I had committed these awful crimes, and I did not.
The only basis for long term healing is truth and the only basis for justice is truth, because justice means truth for all.
A special thanks for all the prayers and thousands of letters of support.
I want to thank in particular my family for their love and support and what they had to go through; my small team of advisors; those who spoke up for me and suffered as a result; and all my friends and supporters here and overseas.
Also my deepest thanks and gratitude to my entire legal team for their unwavering resolve to see justice prevail, to throw light on manufactured obscurity and to reveal the truth.
Finally, I am aware of the current health crisis. I am praying for all those affected and our medical frontline personnel.