Cheering as Pell’s freedom bid rejected

 

VICTIM'S rights advocates and sex abuse survivors have reacted with jubilation to the news disgraced cardinal George Pell will remain behind bars, after his appeal was rejected by the Victorian Supreme Court.

Crowds cheered outside court as Pell's bid to have his convictions over child sex crimes overturned was rejected this morning.

"This is one of the greatest moments now, and our children are more protected than ever," a victim's right's campaigner said outside the court today.

"It is a glorious day for us and survivors everywhere. It's just wonderful."

Victorian Supreme Court Set To Rule On George Pell Appeal On Child Sexual Abuse Conviction
Victorian Supreme Court Set To Rule On George Pell Appeal On Child Sexual Abuse Conviction

The father of one of Pell's victims also appeared in court today and as the appeal was dismissed, he was "smiling broadly", according to reports.

Pell, one of Australia's most high profile Catholics, and the former treasurer for the Vatican, was convicted of five charges of sexually assaulting choirboys in December last year. The five charges included the rape of one choirboy, 13, and sexual assault of another at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.

 

 

Before the decision was handed out this morning, anxious journalists and broadcasters tweeted images of crowds and disputes between protesters.

 

 

Writer, TV personality and former actor Marieke Hardy said she sent her "love and solidarity" to people affected by the appeal, before the decision was handed down.

 

After Pell's appeal was dismissed, a journalist inside the court said the Cardinal looked broken by the news.

 

 

 

 

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called for Pell to be stripped of his Order of Australia.

 

 

The New York Times called the upholding of the conviction a symptom of the Catholic Church's "child sex abuse crisis".

 

Pell arrived at Victoria's Supreme Court in Melbourne earlier this morning, swiftly exiting a white van and handcuffed, entering the building with a guard.

"I think today is going to be explosive. There's no doubt about that. We're in for a shocking day," abuse survivor Michael Advocate told AAP outside the court.

The father of a man who died, who was found to be one of Pell's victims, had a sleepless night ahead of Wednesday's decision, his lawyer Lisa Flynn, told Melbourne radio 3AW.

 

Cardinal George Pell leaving the Supreme Court following his appeal hearing in June. Picture: Erik Anderson
Cardinal George Pell leaving the Supreme Court following his appeal hearing in June. Picture: Erik Anderson

Another abuse advocate, Robert House, said he'd been concerned about the outcome of Pell's appeal.

He said if it was successful, it could discourage other survivors from coming forward to report their abuse.

- with AAP

 

The appeal court handed down its decision on August 21. Picture: Andy Brownbill
The appeal court handed down its decision on August 21. Picture: Andy Brownbill