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Cardinal Pell awaits sentencing

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Australian Cardinal George Pell arrives at the County Court in Melbourne on 26 February. PHOTO: CNS/Erik Anderson, AAP images via Reuters

Cardinal George Pell did not apply for bail today after being found guilty of historical sexual abuse and was taken into custody.

He will remain in custody until he is sentenced on 13 March.

Earlier today Cardinal Pell’s lawyers announced they would not apply for bail following his conviction in the Melbourne County Court last December.

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The cardinal said it was appropriate for him to be on remand while awaiting sentence.

“The cardinal has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so,” said a statement from his lawyer Paul Galbally.

“An appeal has been lodged against his conviction and he will await the outcome of the appeal process.”

Related story: Cardinal Pell to appeal verdict

Magistrate chief Judge Peter Kidd said he would aim to “deter others” in his sentencing and accepted that the cardinal was “very unlikely to re-offend”.

A suppression banning reporting of the case was lifted on 25 February after prosecutors withdrew charges against the Cardinal relating to other allegations.

Cardinal George Pell arrives at the Melbourne Magistrates Court in Melbourne, Australia, 1 May 2018. CNS/James Ross, via Reuters

“Although originally the Cardinal faced allegations from a number of complainants, all charges except for those which are the subject of the appeal have now been either withdrawn, discharged or discontinued,” his lawyers said in a statement 26 February.

The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Mark Coleridge said that the news of the cardinal’s conviction on historical child sexual abuse charges “has shocked many across Australia and around the world, including the Catholic Bishops of Australia”.

“The Bishops agree that everyone should be equal under the law, and we respect the Australian legal system,” Archbishop Coleridge said in a statement. “The same legal system that delivered the verdict will consider the appeal that the Cardinal’s legal team has lodged.

“Our hope, at all times, is that through this process, justice will be served.

“In the meantime, we pray for all those who have been abused and their loved ones, and we commit ourselves anew to doing everything possible to ensure that the Church is a safe place for all, especially the young and the vulnerable.”

Cardinal Pell was found guilty on 11 December last year in a retrial on five charges related to incidents at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996. A jury in a first trial was unable to reach a verdict.

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