Lawyers for former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell on Tuesday filed an appeal to Australia’s High Court in a final bid to overturn his conviction for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choir boys, the High Court said.
Pell is seeking leave to appeal the state of Victoria’s Court of Appeal ruling which upheld his conviction on five charges of abusing the boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1990s when he was archbishop of Melbourne.
By a 2-1 majority, the Court of Appeal in August ruled that “it was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell was guilty of the offences charged”, with the majority finding Pell’s accuser was not a liar or a fantasist.
Pell’s lawyers have appealed that decision on two grounds tied to whether it was possible for Pell to have committed the offenses in light of all the activity that typically went on after mass in the area of the cathedral where they were said to have occurred.
“The majority erred by finding that their belief in the complainant required the applicant (Pell) to establish that the offending was impossible in order to raise and leave a doubt”, Pell’s lawyers said in the filing to the High Court.