Australia 'I am OK': Pell's accuser breaks silence on ruling in poignant message
Holy Week brings Pell's day of judgment but clutch of civil cases loom
George Pell will learn his fate on Tuesday morning when the High Court rules on his appeal against child-sex convictions.The coronavirus crisis means the High Court will pass its judgment on Pell's appeal against child-sex convictions to a near-empty courtroom. The world will learn electronically of its decision but the findings will be no less momentous for all that.
George Pell's accuser, known as Witness J, has broken his silence on the Cardinal being acquitted of sexual abuse, reassuring supporters in a poignant statement that he is "OK".
Pell was yesterday freed from Barwon Prison after the High Court quashed his.
Witness J said he accepted and understood the outcome of the court.
"I respect the decision of the High Court. I accept the outcome," he said.
"I understand their view that there was not enough evidence to Satisfy the Court beyond all reasonable doubt that the offending occurred.
Relief from Pell supporters, while abuse advocates mull consequences
George Pell's release from prison has devastated other sex-assault victims and their advocates who fear his acquittal will deter people from reporting crimes. The High Court unanimously found Cardinal Pell's appeal successful on Tuesday and quashed the convictions he received after a County Court jury found him guilty in 2018 of sexually abusing two choirboys in 1996.
"There are a lot of checks and balances in the criminal justice system and the appeal process is one of them. I respect that.
"It is difficult in child sexual abuse matters to satisfy a criminal court that the offending has occurred beyond the shadow of doubt.
"It is a very high standard to meet – a heavy burden. I understand why criminal cases must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
"No one wants to live in a society where people can be imprisoned without due and proper process. But the price we pay in weighting the system in favour of the accused is that many sexual offences against children go unpunished."
Pell arrived at the Kew Carmelite Monastery in Melbourne's inner-east after leaving the prison near Geelong about 12.30pmyesterday.
How George Pell's lawyers convinced the High Court that his convictions should be quashed
As Victorian prosecutors relied entirely on the truthfulness and reliability of the complainant, the Cardinal's defence lawyers focused on evidence showing the alleged crimes could never have occurred.Cardinal Pell has already said his case was never about the Catholic Church's response to child sex abuse.
This morning, a child's tricycle was tied to the gates, a clear illustration of a community divided.
Melbourne's iconic St Patrick's Cathedral was also vandalised overnight, with the words "the law protects the powerful" sprayed on the forecourt.
Witness J urged victims to continue reporting abuse to police, despite the outcome of the case.
"It remains important that everyone who can report to the police does so. I would hate to think that one outcome of this case is that people are discouraged from reporting to the police," he said.
"This case does not define me. I am not the abuse I suffered as a child. I am a man who came forward for my friend who, sadly, is no longer with us. I am a man doing my best to be a loving dad, partner, son, brother and friend. I am doing my best to find and hold joy in my life and to provide a safe and loving home for my family.
'I am OK': Pell's accuser accepts High Court decision
Cardinal George Pell's accuser, known only as Witness J, has released a statement after the High Court quashed the Cardinal's convictions.The man, known as Witness J, said he was relieved the appeals process was over, in a statement released the day after Australia's seven most senior judges unanimously agreed a County Court jury in 2018, and later the Court of Appeal, should have found there was a reasonable doubt about Cardinal Pell's guilt.
"My journey has been long and I am relieved that is it over. I have my ups and downs. The darkness is never far away. Despite the stress of the legal process and public controversy I have tried hard to keep myself together.
"I am OK."
Father of dead choirboy and advocates slam ruling
The father of one of George Pell's alleged victims is "disgusted" at the High Court's decision to overturn the cardinal's child sexual abuse convictions.
Lisa Flynn, National Practice Leader at Shine Lawyers, represents the father in a separate civil lawsuit against the Catholic Church and in a powerful statement expressed the man's devastation over the outcome.
But Ms Flynn revealed the firm would continue to pursue a civil claim on behalf of their client despite the High Court's ruling.
The man's son, a former choirboy, died in 2014 of a drug overdose aged 31.
"He has suffered immensely and maintains George Pell was responsible for his son's sudden downward spiral after he abused his son as a young choirboy," she said.
"Our client is currently in shock. He is struggling to comprehend the decision by the High Court of Australia. He says he no longer has faith in our country's criminal justice system."
George Pell warns against regarding accusations as 'gospel truth' in first TV interview since acquittal .
In an interview with his long-time supporter Andrew Bolt, Cardinal George Pell warns against society regarding all accusations as "gospel truth" and hits out at the ABC's coverage of his case, saying the organisation is "partly financed by Catholic taxes".In an excerpt from the interview, which will be broadcast in full on Sky News tonight, Cardinal Pell said there was a risk society would move to a position where people were found guilty by accusation.