On Tuesday 7 April 2020 the High Court of Australia handed down a unanimous decision quashing Cardinal George Pell’s convictions for child sexual assault.  A copy of the transcript is found here Pell v The Queen [2020] HCA.

We have prepared a Case Summary highlighting relevant rule of law principles such as beyond reasonable doubt and quotations from the case.



Cardinal Pell

The High Court of Australia will hear Cardinal Pell’s appeal from his conviction on the 11 March 2020.

No other appeal this century will be so high profile and so critical to maintaining public confidence in Australia’s legal system. The rule of law, that which ensures all citizens are treated equally under the law must be jealously guarded.  The rule of law requires all people to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise and the competent and impartial application of the law by the judiciary.

To maintain public confidence, the High Court must start with the presumption of innocence, which Cardinal Pell, like every Australian is entitled to. With this starting point, the prosecution must then prove the case against Cardinal Pell beyond reasonable doubt.

The world is watching the appeal and whether due process was given, no matter the rank or position of the accused.  For my part, I have more than a reasonable doubt about the accuracy of the uncorroborated evidence of the complainant and hope to see the conviction overturned and Cardinal Pell released.

Robin Speed