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Choirboy's lawyer expecting Cardinal Pell to appeal

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 5:42p.m.
Cardinal George Pell was today sentenced to six years eight months in jail. (Photo / AP)

The third most powerful catholic in the world, Cardinal George Pell, was today sentenced to six years prison, with a minimum non-parole period of three years and eight months.

Chief judge Peter Kidd admonished Pell during the one-hour sentencing, highlighting his lack of remorse.

“You were the Archbishop of St Patrick’s Cathedral no less, and you sexually abused two choir boys within that cathedral.

“This connection, and the depth of breaches and abuses, is self-evident.”

Lucie Morris-Marr, the investigative journalist who revealed the police investigation into Pell, told Larry Williams that the Cardinal looked “absolutely weary” during the sentencing.

She says it was quite extraordinary to see the effects prison has already taken on Pell, as he appears to have lost weight.

What he certainly has lost are his priestly oufits and rights, Morris-Mar says.

“This is the first time we've seen without his collar since he was ordained in 1966." 

Morris-Marr says it will be a question of whether he will survive the three years non-parole period he has been given.

That sentence has been criticised by advocates, but Morris-Marr says that it was a very difficult decision for the judge to make.

"He had to consider multiple factors. He considered his age, he considered his health, he considered the fact he doesn't considered him a continued risk to society and the public at large.

"However, he wanted to see a strong message that what he did was extremely grave and extremely arrogant." 

She agrees it may not send a good message to victims, but it is still an achievement. 

"It shows that even the most senior figures in the Catholic Church or society will be held accountable in the courts of law." 

However, Vivian Waller, the lawyer of the surviving choirboy, says her client is waiting for the appeal process before celebrating the move.

Pell's defence team will likely lodge for appeal in June, and Waller believes that will go ahead.

"[My client's] very mindful of the fact the criminal justice process has not yet run its course. He's just hanging on and waiting for the outcome of the appeal."

Waller hopes that survivors are reassured that nobody is above the law.

Pell still has his supporters, with former Prime Minister John Howard providing a character reference after Pell was sentenced. 

Morris-Marr says that when Howard's name was read out, it caused a stir amongst 

"That does shows friendship runs deep." 

Waller questions whether it is a good idea for senior politicians to comment on cases like this. 

Sher says that people should be careful about expressing an opinion about a case that has not yet closed. Waller also thinks people should avoid commenting on evidence they have not heard. 

"There are many things put in place to protect witnesses, and he gave his evidence in private, so the only people who have heard my client's evidence are the jury, the legal teams, the judge and Pell."

ON AIR: Kerre McIvor Mornings

9a.m. - 12p.m.