Religion

Australian court to rule on Cardinal Pell’s appeal on Aug. 21

Australian Cardinal George Pell, who is serving a six-year jail sentence for child sexual abuse, will learn his fate Aug. 21 when Melbourne's Court of Appeal hands down its decision on whether to overturn his conviction.

The former Vatican treasurer and one-time close adviser to Pope Francis was convicted in December for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral in the mid-1990s. The 78-year-old maintains his innocence.

Pell's two-day appeal hearing was held in June in front of three judges, which ended with them reserving their decision until a later date.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson will read out a summary of the decision, with the proceedings to be live-streamed on the court's website, the court said Thursday.

Pell, the highest-ranking Catholic figure to be convicted of child sex abuse, could either walk free, be sent to a retrial or remain in jail.

Pell's lawyers are trying to overturn the conviction arguing that the jury's verdict was "unsafe and unsatisfactory," while the prosecutors have told the judges that the jury was correct to convict Pell.

An earlier jury was discharged in September after it could not reach a verdict.

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli on Wednesday said he had visited Pell in prison about two months ago.

"He has a sense of waiting, as with anything there would be a psychological agitation about waiting for what's going to be the outcome of the appeal," Comensoli told ABC Radio in Melbourne.

"But I found him strong spiritually and calm and very conversive."

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