Melbourne – Melbourne’s Court of Appeal will hand down its decision Wednesday in Australian Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for child sexual abuse.
The former Vatican treasurer and one-time close adviser to Pope Francis was convicted in December for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the mid-1990s.
The 78-year-old maintains his innocence.
Pell’s two-day appeal hearing was held in June, which ended with the judges reserving their decision.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson will read out a summary of the decision, which could be majority or unanimous, with the proceedings to be live-streamed on the court’s website from 9:30 am on Wednesday (2330 GMT Tuesday).
Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic figure to be jailed for a child sex abuse conviction, has already been in prison for more than five months. Depending on the verdict, he could either walk free, his case could be sent to a retrial or he could remain in jail.
Meanwhile the father of one of the two choirboys sexually abused by Pell said Tuesday through his lawyer that he is waiting “with bated breath” and is “anxious about the decision.”
”He has said that he would like to see justice prevail and George Pell kept behind bars where he cannot prey on more unsuspecting children,” said Lisa Flynn, the lawyer representing the father, whose son died of a drug overdose in 2014.
If Pell’s appeal is rejected, he would be at least 81 years old before he is eligible for parole.