The High Court of Australia is today expected to take the historic step of overturning the conviction of Roman Catholic Cardinal George Pell on child sex abuse charges without hearing his appeal.
Instead, Chief Justice Susan Kiefel is expected to announce that it is the unanimous decision by all seven High Court judges that Pell be released based entirely on an investigation of the case by News Corp Australia columnist Andrew Bolt (main picture).
In his latest column appearing in News Corp papers (pictured) Bolt outlined the forensic analysis he undertook of a key aspect of the Pell case — the timing of events leading up to the alleged assault by Pell of two 13-year-old choirboys in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.
Bolt’s conclusion was that the alleged movements of the two boys and others present at the cathedral on the day, as outlined in County Court evidence, showed Pell had no opportunity to commit the offences of which he was charged and found guilty in Victoria’s County Court in February.
In a special sitting of the High Court in Canberra later today, Chief Justice Kiefel is expected to use Bolt’s column alone to declare Pell innocent of any wrongdoing and order that he be set free from the Melbourne prison where he is continuing to serve a six-year sentence after a 2:1 majority decision by judges of the Victorian Court of Appeal upheld his conviction.
A source within the High Court told The Bug that although Pell’s legal team had announced its intention to seek leave of the court to appeal against his conviction, no such appeal was now necessary.
“All seven High Court judges met yesterday after they all read Mr Bolt’s column,” the source said.
“They all came to the meeting utterly convinced of Pell’s innocence as outlined by Mr Bolt. Many admitted to being in awe of Bolt’s meticulous investigative work and expressed their disbelief that the facts he uncovered had not been aired previously in Pell’s trial and appeal.
“But they unanimously agreed that Pell’s conviction needed to be overturned as soon as possible, which made redundant any decision on granting Pell’s legal team leave to appeal.
“Many of the judges were in tears at the thought that our legal system had let an innocent man be thrown in jail, and several of them made emotional speeches to the effect that Mr Bolt had single-handedly corrected that blatant and dangerous miscarriage of justice,” the High Court source said.