CARDINAL George Pell has been granted a last-gasp bid for freedom after the High Court agreed to hear appeal arguments against his child sexual abuse conviction.
Justices James Edelman and Michelle Gordon on Wednesday agreed the matter be referred to a full court of the High Court “for argument as on an appeal”.
It is understood the decision paves the way for the court to make one of three decisions, which would be delivered in a single judgment or order:
* Refuse special leave.
* Grant special leave and dismiss the appeal.* Grant special leave and allow the appeal.
Pell, 78, was found guilty by a jury of the rape of a 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996, but he has always denied any wrongdoing.
The Victorian Court of Appeal in August upheld a jury verdict convicting Pell in a 2-1 ruling.
Pell is serving a six-year jail term and is ineligible for parole until he has served three years and eight months of his sentence.
The High Court matter is expected to be heard in 2020.