GEORGE PELL is “quietly confident” about his High Court appeal hearing, which is expected to take place around March 12-13.
It is unclear how long the seven High Court judges will take to reach a decision, but their judgment is likely to be announced a few weeks after the hearing. PELL needs only four judges to be persuaded that the dissenting Court of Appeal judge was right.
If PELL’S appeal is successful, he will be released from jail immediately.
But he will still have to serve at least another two years and eight months in prison if his conviction is upheld. And the Pope will surely defrock him. That means he will no longer be a priest and will die in disgrace.
PELL was moved to the high security Barwon Prison after a drone was spotted buzzing the courtyard of the Melbourne Assessment Centre. A clear photograph of PELL wearing his prison uniform would fetch a high price from some news services.
So far, Corrective Services have managed to keep prying cameras away from the high profile prisoner. Victoria police have interviewed two men about the drone but the matter hasn’t been taken any further.
It’s an offence in Victoria to fly a drone within 120 metres of a prison which can attract a two year jail sentence.
PELL is believed to be more comfortable in his new cell which is much bigger and has more natural light. His jail mates include drug lords, bikies and murderers – some prisoners are members of the Calabrian organised crime group.
Sources close to the cardinal say he is ministering to fellow prisoners via letters. He enjoys his larger room but is unable to celebrate Mass due to being denied wine, “an outrageous denial of religious liberty, but there we are,” said one of the sources.
He has allegedly told his visiting friends he feels he has effectively “had a yearlong, enforced ‘retreat.’”
The cardinal’s friends say anyone who wishes to write to him should send letters to: George Pell, Locked Bag 7, Lara VIC 3212, AUSTRALIA.