George Pell Considers High Court After Child Sex Abuse Appeal Dismissed

George Pell will be sent back to prison after his appeal against his child sex abuse convictions failed, but the disgraced cardinal has flagged escalating his case to the High Court.

Pell's appeal has been dismissed.

"He will continue to serve his sentence of six years imprisonment. He will remain eligible to apply for parole after he has served three years and eight months of his sentence," the court's Chief Justice said.

11.50am: Pell "maintains his innocence", mulls further High Court appeal

In a statement released by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney on behalf of Pell, a spokesperson for the disgraced cardinal has said he is considering an appeal to the High Court.

"Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today," the spokesperson said.

"However his legal team will thoroughly examine the judgement in order to determine a special leave application to the High Court. While noting the 2-1 split decision, Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence. We thank his many supporters."

11am: Pell could be stripped of Order of Australia honours

PM Scott Morrison has said George Pell may be about to lose his national honours following the appeal verdict.

PM Scott Morrison Speaks Out After Pell Verdict

"My understanding is that [the verdict] would result in the stripping of the honours that are decided externally to the government. That is a process that is done independently, and that of course will now follow," the Prime Minister said at a press conference in Canberra.

Pell was named as a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2005, in recognition of his service to the church. Morrison had said in February, following the initial guilty verdict, that Pell could lose his honours if the appeal was lost.

10.15am: abuse survivors "relieved"

The Blue Knot Foundation, Australia’s National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, has released a statement saying that sexual abuse victims will be relieved that the appeal has failed.

Emotions Rise High After Pell's Appeal Failed

"For many survivors a conviction being upheld against a high profile once powerful perpetrator underlines faith in the justice process and the possibility of speaking out," Blue Knot said.

"Believing the victim in this case sends a message to so many other victims that what happened to you mattered and will now be more likely to be believed than ever before."

9.57am: Reactions outside the court

Studio 10's Sarah Harris is reporting some "argy-bargy" outside the court between Pell supporters and sex abuse survivors.

Supporters of survivors reacted to the news by yelling "beautiful" outside the court, throwing up their hands in quiet jubilation.

Supporters of abuse victims outside the Supreme Court. Photo: AAP

"What we saw today was an affirmation that 'yes we're listening to the community'," one man said of the judges, saying the court was "aware of the seething white hot anger" and had "made the right decision".

"It was fantastic to see George's face get redder and redder," he claimed.

9.50am: "frail and defeated"

The Chief Justice is explaining how the appeal judges have agreed with decisions made by the trial judge, in allowing or disallowing certain evidence to be presented to the jury.

One of the pieces of evidence blocked was a computer animation prepared by Pell's team, which claimed to show the travel of various people through the church at the time of one of the sex abuse incidents. The animation was prepared to claim that Pell would not have the opportunity to be in private with a choirboy during that time.

The appeal judges claimed the animation would have been "tendentious in the extreme."

9.40am: Judges give their reasons

The Chief Justice is now expanding on the deliberations and reasoning behind the court's decision. This is expected to go on for some time, but the main news is that Pell's appeal has been dismissed, and he will remain in prison.

One of the main grounds Pell's defence lawyers argued was that it was unreasonable for the jury to have found him guilty, based on the evidence given in his trial, with his team raising doubts over witnesses and the claims they made. The judges said they reviewed the evidence presented to the jury.

The three judges deliver their verdict on Tuesday.

"Having reviewed the whole of the evidence, two of the judges... decided that it was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell was guilty of the offences charged," the justice said.

"In other words, we decided that there was nothing about the complainant's evidence or about the opportunity evidence or about the opportunity evidence which meant that the jury must have had a doubt about the truth of the complainant's account."

"In our written reasons, we have stated that it is not enough that one or more jurors might have had a doubt. Rather, the jury must have had a doubt."

10 News First reporter Candice Wyatt, inside the court, said cheers could be heard from outside when the verdict was announced.

The Vatican is expected to release a statement in the coming hours.

After December's guilty verdict, Pell lost his senior position as the Vatican's treasurer but still remained a Cardinal.

The Vatican has previously said that it would reserve any judgement until the appeals process is complete.

9.35am: Pell's appeal dismissed, sentence stands

Pell's appeal has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal. He will return to jail and his sentence will stand.

Judges Deliver Verdict In George Pell Sex Abuse Appeal

"He will continue to serve his sentence of six years imprisonment. He will remain eligible to apply for parole after he has served three years and eight months of his sentence," the court's Chief Justice said.

"Whether Cardinal Pell will be released on parole will be a matter for the adult Parole Board, not the courts."

Pell's now only remaining option is to appeal to the High Court.

9.30am: Judges arrive

The three judges have taken their seats in the court room, with the judgement about to be delivered.

Pell is in the dock.


Once the Vatican's third-ranking official, Pell was found guilty of five charges in March -- one of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 and four of committing an indecent act -- related to the sexual abuse of two choirboys when he was archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

Pell was sentenced to six years in prison, but appealed his convictions immediately, insisting he was innocent.

George Pell arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday. Photo: AAP

The Victorian Court of Appeal has deliberated on whether overturn the 78-year-old's sentence. Three justices heard Pell's appeal over two days in June.

Bret Walker SC argued three grounds to secure Pell's release or a retrial, including that the verdicts were "unsafe and unsatisfactory".

The panel of three judges will deliver their decision after 9.25am on Tuesday. The judgement is expected to take up to 40 minutes to deliver.

Two of the three judges must agree for Pell's sentence to be overturned.

There are three possible outcomes for the verdict:

  • that Pell's appeal is denied, and he is sent back to prison;
  • that a retrial is ordered, whereupon Pell can apply for bail to leave prison before returning to court for a whole new trial process;
  • or that the previous judgement is overturned entirely.

You can follow along the entire judgement as it is delivered live -- 10 daily will live-stream the verdict online, and it will also be shown on Studio 10.