In depressing news at a depressing time, Australia's High Court has overturned the sexual abuse conviction of Cardinal George Pell.
In 2018, a magistrate ruled that there was sufficient evidence to take Pell to trial for the abuse of two choirboys in the 1990's. In December, 2018, Pell was found guilty of abusing the two boys at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996 and 1997. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
Pell tried to fight the conviction. Last August, an appeals court upheld the conviction. Pell was not done fighting the conviction though.
Now, Pell is free after Australia's High Court has overturned the conviction, ending his prison sentence immediately.
The seven judges voted unanimously in Pell's favor. Their reasoning was that the jury did not properly consider all the evidence. The summary statement from the court read, "The jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant's guilt."
One of Pell's victims died years ago of a heroin overdose. The victim's father was in shock over the decision. His lawyer, Lisa Flynn, told reporters, "He says he no longer has faith in our country's criminal justice system."
It took years to get Pell before the court in the first place. He was at the Vatican serving as Secretariat for the Economy when the charges were brought against him.
Now, years of work to put him behind bars has all been undone because of the High Court's decision. What a tragedy.