George Pell will be sentenced for child sex crimes.
George Pell will be sentenced for child sex crimes.

George Pell’s day of reckoning arrives

FALLEN Cardinal George Pell will be sentenced today for degrading sex acts against young choirboys while serving as Melbourne's archbishop.

The world's most senior Catholic to be found guilty of child sex crimes has been in jail since his bail was revoked during is plea hearing last month, when his crimes were described as a breach of trust with an element of brutality to them.

The disgraced Vatican cleric's sentencing will be broadcast live at heraldsun.com.au with coverage beginning from 9.30am.

In December last year, a jury found Pell, 77, guilty of one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four counts of an indecent act with a child under 16 - but a gag order prevented the verdicts being made public.

 

George Pell outside court. Picture: AAP
George Pell outside court. Picture: AAP


The crimes were against two young boys who were sexually abused after Sunday Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral when Pell caught them drinking altar wine in the sacristy inside the cathedral.

The suppression order was put in place to protect an expected trial over allegations Pell indecently assaulted boys at a Ballarat swimming pool in the 1970s.

But that case was dropped after prosecutors were prohibited using evidence they considered crucial to the case.

Pell's prominent barrister Robert Richter, QC, was forced to apologise after the sentencing hearing last month after he sparked outrage when he described his client's case as "no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case".

 

Pell as Melbourne's Archbishop in 2000. Picture: Cameron Tandy
Pell as Melbourne's Archbishop in 2000. Picture: Cameron Tandy

 

Former prime minister John Howard's was among 10 references given to the court telling of Pell's humour, generosity and "exemplary character".

But Pell's legal fight is not over, with his high profile lawyers already lodging an appeal with papers showing it will be fought on three grounds.

The main fight centres around overturning the Cardinal's guilty verdict, with the document arguing the verdicts were "unreasonable" based on the evidence.

The appeal papers filed also allege County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd "erred by preventing the defence from using a moving visual representation" during its closing address.

It will be argued on June 5 at the Court of Appeal.

Bret Walker, SC, will head up the appeal, with Mr Richter stepping aside to have fresh eyes on the case. Richter's junior Ruth Shann and solicitor Paul Galbally who will remain on the cardinal's case.

aleks.devic@news.com.au

@AleksDevic



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