Here's Everything That Happened On George Pell's Appeal Day 1
Former Cardinal George Pell has begun his appeal in the Victorian Supreme Court in the hopes of overturning his child sex abuse conviction.
Pell is currently serving a six-year jail sentence after he was found guilty in December 2018 of four counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual penetration, over the abuse of two 13-year-old choir boys in 1996.
Pell arrived at the Supreme Court in a police van at around 8:30 am on Wednesday morning, while media and abuse survivors gathered outside court ahead of the hearing.
Day 1 Concludes Following 6 Hours of Defence Submissions
George Pell's appeal hearing has ended for Day One, at 4.18pm.
As 10 daily wraps up live coverage of the proceedings, here are a few key moments from the day:
In the first day of submissions, the court heard from the defence, with Bret Walker SC canvassing his client's main grounds of appeal.
10 News First reporter Emma O'Sullivan, who was in court, said these included claims Pell had an alibi, a missing witness the defence says was never interviewed, the fallibility of memory and even the weather on relevant days.
The defence repeatedly emphasised throughout its submissions that Pell had not only not carried out the offences, but that it was both physically and logically impossible for him to have committed them.
Shortly after lunch, Justice Mark Weinberg took a swipe at the defence team's fondness of the word 'impossibility', saying it seemed "quite misleading in lots of ways."
Just before submissions wrapped up for the day the defence also submitted on their second ground of appeal -- that the court in Pell's trial should have been shown a 19-minute animation created by his legal defence, which they say would have proved it was impossible the offence occurred.
The defence argued that denying access to this video was an example of a person being "deprived of using 21st-century technology."
That submission received several minutes of speculation from the judges.
Pell's appeal has been adjourned for the rest of the day to schedule and will resume on Thursday morning at 9:30am where the court will hear from the Crown's case.
Supporters and Protesters Gather Outside Court
Outside the Supreme Court, both supporters and protesters gathered, as the appeal inside resumed following a short break.
A row of the disgraced cardinal's supporters was seen praying outside the Supreme Court building and holding rosary beads.
A short distance away a protester stood holding placards saying "hypocrisy is the norm".
What's Been Heard So Far As Judges Call First Break
The appeal has been adjourned for 15 minutes after more than an hour of submissions from the defence team.
Pell was escorted from the courtroom first before the judges also made their way out.
In the first hour of submissions, the court heard it was "physically" and also "logically" impossible for Pell's offending to have occurred.
Walker said his client effectively had an alibi because of his routine as the Archbishop of Melbourne to chat with parishioners outside the Cathedral following mass.
Walker said that "raises reasonable doubt, to put it mildly."
The defence also discussed the second victim who died in 2014, and the evidence that he told his mother he wasn't molested while serving on the choir.
Pell's team said this evidence was capable of raising reasonable doubt.
The judges however raised that there is no typical response from a victim of sex abuse and that every survivor may react differently.
Pell's Team Says it's 'impossible' he committed the crime
In written submissions released shortly before the commencement of the appeal, Pell's defence team said there was a "significant body of evidence" that showed that not only did the abuse not occur but it was impossible to have occurred.
"This evidence constituted a catalogue of at least thirteen solid obstacles in the path of a conviction," the submission said.
"No matter what view was taken of the complainant as a witness, it was simply not open to the jury to accept his word beyond reasonable doubt."
Calm Pell Takes copious notes in court
Inside the court, Pell appeared calm and concentrated and was seen wearing his clerical collar.
10 News First reporter Emma O'Sullivan who was in court said Pell took copious notes as his lawyers launched the case for their appeal and looked physically better than he did at his sentencing.
It's understood Pell's family were among those watching the appeal in the packed courtroom.
Supreme Court Judges visited cathedral before appeal
Three Court of Appeal judges, Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, Justice Chris Maxwell, and the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mark Weinberg, will rule on Pell's appeal following a two-day hearing to begin on Wednesday.
At the commencement of the appeal Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said all three judges had reviewed "a considerable amount of evidence" including recordings, transcripts, and even robes.
The three judges also undertook a visit to the cathedral where the offences occurred.
Pell Launches Appeal On Three Grounds
Pell's legal team is appealing on three grounds.
Firstly, Pell's lawyers will argue the jury could not have made a decision 'beyond reasonable doubt' because the sexual abuse evidence came from a single choirboy -- as Pell's other victim, who is now deceased, never filed a complaint with the police.
Pell's lawyers will also argue the court should have been shown a 19-minute animation created by his legal defence, which supposedly shows it was 'impossible' Pell was alone in the priest's sacristy when he abused the boys.
Another ground for the appeal is that he was not asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty in the presence of all the potential jurors, which is a legal requirement for criminal trials.
If Pell succeeds in arguing that the verdicts of the jury, based on the evidence of a single complainant, were 'unreasonable', then his convictions may be overturned and he could walk free.
The latter two reasons are considered technicalities and if they're accepted by the Court of Appeals, a retrial is likely.
How Pell's Historic conviction played out
Pell's conviction and later sentencing rocked the Catholic Church and made global headlines, with the former third-highest ranking Vatican official becoming the most senior cleric to be found guilty of child sex abuse charges.
While his original conviction was suppressed by the court for several months in Australia, graphic details of his abuse were revealed during sentencing with Chief Judge Peter Kidd labelling his actions as "breathtakingly arrogant".
Pell's appeal will continue on Thursday.
To speak to somebody about sexual assault, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or the Kids Helpline (ages 5 to 25) on 1800 55 1800. Need Support? Call the Blue Knot helpline on 1300 657 380 between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Sunday AEST. You can also email email@example.com