Cardinal Pell wins right to contest abuse verdict

Cardinal George Pell will be allowed a final chance to challenge his child sexual abuse convictions, Australia’s highest court has ruled.

Pell was granted leave to appeal the verdict in the High Court of Australia.

The ex-Vatican treasurer, 78, is currently serving a six-year jail term for abusing two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

He lost his first challenge against his convictions in August and has consistently maintained his innocence.

Pell is the most high-ranking Catholic official in the world to be convicted of child sexual abuse.

Last December, a jury unanimously found him guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys in St Patrick’s Cathedral, when he was the city’s archbishop.

The convictions include one count of sexual penetration and four counts of committing indecent acts.

Pell unsuccessfully challenged the verdict in Victoria’s Court of Appeal in August.

It rejected the cleric’s argument that the jury’s verdict had been unfair and had relied unreasonably on the testimony of one victim.

The grounds for the new appeal are yet to be made public.

The court is most likely to hear the appeal next year, reported The Australian newspaper.

Pell’s case has rocked the Catholic Church, where he had been one of the Pope’s closest advisers.

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