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Share07 April 2020 The acquittal has remedied "a serious injustice". These are the words of Cardinal George Pell pronounced after the decision of the Australian High Court, the highest judgment in the country, to cancel his sentence. The high prelate had been sentenced to six years for child abuse. The appeal by the lawyers of the former head of the Secretariat for the Vatican Economy, which had always declared his innocence, was thus accepted. The New York Times reports.
Cardinal Pell, Pope Francis' former adviser, was sentenced to six years in prison last March on charges of molesting two boys after a Sunday mass in 1996. The cardinal was convicted on the basis of five counts, making him the first bishop found guilty in a criminal court for child sexual abuse, according to BishopAccountability.org, which tracks the cases of sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy.
The sentence, far below the maximum of 50 years, had resisted the first appeal. But in Tuesday's ruling, the High Court found that for all five indictments, there were many unlikely eventualities that had not been fully considered by the jury. There is "a significant possibility," wrote the high court judges, "that an innocent person has been convicted."
Earlier, in August 2019, the Supreme Court of the Australian State of Victoria had rejected Cardinal Pell's first appeal for a guilty verdict announced by the Victoria County Court in February 2019.
Breaking News: Australia's top court overturned the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Catholic leader found guilty of sexual abusehttps: //t.co/dJlkaZ3wTt- The New York Times (@nytimes) April 7, 2020