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Why there's a good chance George Pell will win

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04.06.2019

When a jury found Cardinal George Pell guilty of sexual offences against two boys at Melbourne's St Patrick’s Cathedral, it was not the end of the justice system’s consideration of his case. It was just the end of the beginning. Next comes the appeal, which will begin today.

If you watch American crime procedural, you may well think that appeals are always about questions of law. Indeed, Pell’s lawyers will raise two such matters at his appeal, both about video screens. Was it OK to start Pell’s trial even though the potential jurors were all in another room watching events on a big screen? And did Chief Judge Peter Kidd make a mistake at the end of Pell’s trial when he stopped barrister Robert Richter from showing the jury a video animation of people moving around St Patrick’s?

George Pell will appeal his convictions for child sex abuse this week.Credit:Daniel Pockett

However, Australian appeals (and British, Canadian and New Zealand ones) differ from American ones in an important way. Anyone found guilty of any crime here can also argue that the jury’s verdict was simply wrong. Pell has asked the Court of Appeal to rule that his jury ought to have had a reasonable doubt about his guilt. The........

© The Sydney Morning Herald