The fate of Cardinal George Pell, following his recent conviction in December 2018, has been handed down on 13 March 2019.
Chief Justice Peter Kidd has sentenced Cardinal George Pell to six years imprisonment, after he was convicted of one count sexual penetration of a child under 16, as well as four counts of committing an indecent act with, or in the presence, of a child.
The sentence comes with a non-parole period of three years and eight months, and the cardinal will be registered as a sex offender for life.
In handing down the sentence, Kidd CJ condemned the abuse as “brazen” and “grave”. His Honour also noted that the abuse was an “explicit expression” of the cardinal’s authority over the children, further characterising the cardinal as “breathtakingly arrogant”.
His Honour found that a breach of trust had occurred, and that Cardinal George Pell had in fact used his position to facilitate the offending. By pleading ‘not guilty’ to the charges, His Honour surmised that there was no evidence of remorse or contrition.
Being the most senior Catholic cleric, the sentencing of Cardinal George Pell is of significant interest to those in Australia and across the globe. Kidd CJ correctly recognised the unique nature of this context, commenting, “It is George Pell whom is to be sentenced, not the entire Catholic religion or Church”.
Despite the sentence, Pell maintains his innocence and intends to appeal against his conviction on three grounds, including that the jury verdict was unreasonable.
The Court of Appeal will hear the appeal over two days in June.