Disgraced Cardinal George Pell will learn whether he will walk free from prison or remain behind bars when Victoria's Court of Appeal hands down its decision this morning. The verdict, handed down in December, was suppressed until February.
Cheers were heard from inside the courtroom and outside as dozens of supporters watching the appeal on the livestream heard the three judges slap down Pell's appeal.
"He will continue to serve his sentence of six years imprisonment", Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said.
The 78-year-old needed three Court of Appeal judges to agree the jury must have had reasonable doubts for his conviction to be overturned. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said soon after the appeal was rejected that Pell would be stripped of his Order of Australia honor.
A permanent stay of proceedings would stop the case from ever continuing and Pell would be released.
In a little more than a year, the pope has acknowledged he made "grave errors" in Chile's worst cover-up, Pell was convicted of abuse, a French cardinal was convicted of failing to report a pedophile, and a third cardinal, former USA church leader Theodore McCarrick, was defrocked after a Vatican investigation determined he molested children and adults.
He sat in the dock and looked defeated as chief justice of the Supreme Court Anne Ferguson announced the court's decision.
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"To his mind, there is a significant possibility that the Cardinal may not have committed the offences", Justice Ferguson said.
A lawyer for the father of the second victim - who died of a drug overdose in 2014 - said he felt "a weight had been lifted".
The three appeal judges chose to only grant leave to hear the first ground of appeal, that the jury verdict was unreasonable, and that was then dismissed on a 2-1 verdict.
They also ruled that Pell was not required to be physically present when he was arraigned - officially asked how he pleaded - in front of the jury pool. The 325-page ruling was published later Wednesday.
Pell did not appeal his sentence, so the six-year prison term, with a minimum of three years and eight months before he's eligible for parole, stands.
'That trial judge Peter Kidd made an error in rejecting the use of an animation by Pell's defence lawyers during the closing remarks of the trial'.