By Emily Drooby
A sentence handed down on live tv by Chief Judge Peter Kidd of the County Court of Victoria.
Judge Kidd said, “I am conscious of the heavy reality that I am about to sentence you, a man of advanced years, who has led an otherwise blameless life to a significant period of imprisonment.”
Australian Judge Peter Kidd speaking before issuing a six-year prison sentence to Cardinal Pell.
Once a top aide to Pope Francis, the Cardinal was convicted in December on allegations he abused minors in 1996 when he was Archbishop of Melbourne.
The guilty verdict came during a re-trial of the accusations. The first trial ended in a hung jury.
Throughout both proceedings, Cardinal Pell has insisted he’s innocent. He’s appealing the conviction and Australia’s Supreme Court has put that appeal on a fast-track.
The case will be back in court this June.
A number of legal experts have raised questions about the Pell verdict.
In a column published in the current edition of the Tablet, noted Catholic writer George Weigel, called the charges against Cardinal Pell a quote, “…travesty of justice, thanks in part to a public atmosphere of hysterical anti-Catholicism – a fetid climate that had a devastating impact on the possibility of his receiving a fair trial.”
The sentencing judge turned the Cardinal’s insistence that he’s not guilty into a strike against him. He explained, “You maintain your innocents in relation to this offending which is your right but as a consequence there is no evidence of your remorse or contrition for me to act upon to reduce your sentence.”
After the sentence was imposed, the father of an alleged victim who died of a drug overdose said the sentence should have been longer. He said, “I was hoping 20 years and I thought realistically maybe 10? 6, well, I don’t think that is sufficient. Especially when you think the minimum is going to be three and a half.” He has not been named for legal reasons.