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Former Vatican treasurer Pell's appeal process to begin in June

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Former Vatican treasurer Pell's appeal process to begin in June
FILE PHOTO: Cardinal George Pell arrives at County Court in Melbourne, Australia, February 27, 2019. AAP Image/David Crosling/via REUTERS   -   Copyright  STRINGER(Reuters)
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell faces at least another three months in jail on child sex offences before his application for leave to appeal is heard on June 5 and 6.

Pell, from Australia, is the world’s most senior Catholic priest to have been convicted on child sex offences.

He was found guilty by a jury in Victoria in December on one charge of sexual assault against a 13-year-old boy and four charges of indecent acts against the same boy and another 13-year old. The events occurred 22 years earlier.

The verdict could not be reported until last week, when a suppression order on the case was lifted as a result of further charges against the 77-year-old being dropped.

His bail was revoked a week ago ahead of his sentencing on March 13. He faces a maximum of 10 years in jail for each of the charges.

The Court of Appeal said on Wednesday a hearing on the application for leave to appeal was set for June 5 and 6.

Pell is appealing his conviction on three grounds: the verdicts were “unreasonable”, the judge erred by not allowing the defence to show a video graphic in its closing address, and there was “a fundamental irregularity” as the accused was not arraigned in the presence of the jury panel.

The application says the jury could not have been satisfied Pell was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as the prosecution’s case was based wholly on the word of one accuser, and more than 20 witnesses gave “unchallenged exculpatory evidence”.

The other victim in the case died in 2014.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Neil Fullick)

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