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Court reveals George Pell's appeal claims


George Pell is arguing his child sex abuse convictions should be overturned or he should receive a retrial, because of a “fundamental irregularity” that prevented him entering a not guilty plea in front of his jury.

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The Court of Appeal has released Pell’s grounds for appeal against his December conviction for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne, when he was archbishop in 1996.

“There was a fundamental irregularity in the trial process, because the accused was not arraigned in the presence of the jury panel as required,” the appeal, filed by Pell’s barrister Robert Richter QC, reads.

It’s one of three appeal grounds filed on February 21.

Pell also takes aim at the reliance of the jury on only one victim’s evidence.

“The verdicts are unreasonable and cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence, because on the whole of the evidence, including unchallenged exculpatory evidence from more than 20 crown witnesses, it was not open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt on the word of the complainant alone,” his first appeal ground says.

If the Court of Appeal accepts that, it could dismiss the case.

He also argues County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd erred in preventing the defence from using a “moving visual representation” of its argument, claiming the events were impossible.

Prosecutors objected to the visual, comparing it to the video game Pacman.

Pell, who is in custody, is expected to pursue the appeal after he is sentenced on March 13.

As he adjusts to jail life, the interview exposing the allegations of his offending against the two boys has been released.

The footage, played to jurors who convicted Pell of five charges in December, marked the first time he heard the detailed complaints, which he passed off as a “product of fantasy”.

Cross-armed and shaking his head, he told Detective Sergeant Christopher Reed to “stop it” as he read a victim’s recollection of Pell exposing his penis from beneath his ceremonial robes.

“What a load of absolute and disgraceful rubbish. Completely false. Madness,” he declared.

When the physical acts he committed on the boys were described to him – as told to police in 2015 by the surviving victim a year after the accidental death of the second boy – he again denied it.

“What a load of garbage and falsehood. And deranged falsehood.”


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