George Pell: Melbourne man charged with making death threats

The 49-year-old man from Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner north, was charged on Wednesday with making bomb threats and threats to kill.

Victoria Police confirmed the threats were made against a man aged in his 70s. Pell, 78, is currently being held in solitary confinement, reportedly in Victoria’s Barwon maximum security prison.

The Brunswick man was bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 9.

Pell’s legal team is in Canberra hoping to convince Australia’s highest court to grant his final opportunity for an appeal.

He was convicted in 2018 of the rape of one 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another. One victim gave evidence against Pell; the second died in 2014.

Pell maintained his innocence through two trials – the first ending in a hung jury – and last year’s Victorian Court of Appeal hearing, which upheld the verdict in a 2-1 ruling.

Top appeals barrister Bret Walker SC is not only trying to convince the High Court that Pell’s appeal should be granted, but that they should allow him to appeal in the first place.

Despite hearing hours of evidence already, the full bench of seven judges has not formally granted Pell’s application for appeal, instead referring it “for argument”.

Disgraced cardinal George Pell is hoping to appeal his assault convictions. Picture: Andy Brownbill/APSource:AP

That means at any time the court can refuse the application for special leave, or approve it. It can then either allow or dismiss the appeal.

“We’re not here to prove anything … except to show, to demonstrate, that there was unexplored possibilities that meant it was not open to the jury to convict,” Bret Walker SC told the court on Wednesday morning.

He said the only evidence that Pell’s offending had occurred came from the complainant and that evidence could not stand if it was accepted that other witnesses had been truthful.

Today, Victoria’s Chief Crown Prosecutor Kerri Judd QC accused Pell’s lawyers of giving an “incomplete and inaccurate picture of the facts” and of glossing over evidence that supported the surviving choirboy.

Pell is one year into a six-year jail sentence.

His appeal is based on two grounds – firstly that Chief Justice Ann Ferguson and President Chris Maxwell made an error in requiring Pell to prove the offending was “impossible” in order to raise reasonable doubt.

Secondly his lawyers have argued the judges erred in concluding the guilty verdicts were not unreasonable, because of findings there was reasonable doubt as to his guilt.


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