Australian Court To Decide If 78-Year Old Former Vatican Treasurer Can Appeal Prison Sentence For Child Sexual Abuse

Australian Court To Decide If 78-Year Old Former Vatican Treasurer Can Appeal  Prison Sentence For Child Sexual AbuseGeorge Pell. (via Twitter)

Australia's High Court will announce on Wednesday (13 November) whether it will hear the final appeal request of Cardinal George Pell, who was sentenced to six years in prison for child sexual abuse.

In the event the request is accepted, the appeal will be analyzed at a later date, probably in 2020, a spokesperson of the High Court, the country's highest, told Efe news on Monday (11 November).

This is the last opportunity for the former Vatican treasurer to reverse the prison sentence that captured global attention as Pell, 78, became the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to be convicted of such a crime.

Pell was sentenced in March to jail for five counts of child sexual abuse against two choir boys at the St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne between 1996-97. He maintains his innocence.

On August 21, the Melbourne Supreme Court dismissed Pell's first appeal against the sentence.

It rejected the arguments filed by the cardinal's lawyers, who questioned a victim's testimony and the possibility that the jury could have issued a verdict beyond reasonable doubt.

The abuse accusations against Pell came to light in 2015 when one of the victims reported to Victoria Police that the Cardinal had sexually abused him on two occasions shortly after he was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996.

The Cardinal was born in Ballarat, Victoria, and was also Archbishop of Sydney before being appointed prefect of the finance secretariat of the Holy See in 2014, the highest rank after the Pope and the secretary of state of the Vatican.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)