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PM Morrison suggests Cardinal Pell to lose Order of Australia honour

CANBERRA (Australia): Australian Prime Minister Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Cardinal George Pell will be stripped of his Order of Australia honour.

Pell is planning to take his rejected appeal against his child sex abuse convictions to the High Court.

On Wednesday, two of the three judges from Victoria’s Court of Appeal turned down Pell’s primary ground of appeal, that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable.

Two other rounds of Pell’s appeal which argued that there were errors in the way the trial was run were dismissed unanimously by the judges.

Pell was sentenced to a six-year jail term in March this year afte being found guilty by a jury of five offences including sexual penetration of a child.

The 78-year-old must serve a minimum jail term of three years and eight months.

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Justice Chris Maxwell dismissed the appeal on the ground of an unreasonable jury verdict, while Justice Mark Weinberg upheld that appeal ground.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested Pell was likely to lose his Order of Australia honour as a result of the court outcome.

At a press conference shortly after the outcome, Mr Morrison said his sympathies were with victims across Australia.

“The courts have done their job, they’ve rendered their verdict,” he said.

“And that’s the system of justice in this country and that must be respected.

“Of course, my understanding is that this would result in the stripping of the honours that are decided externally to the Government, that is a process that is done independently and that of course will now follow.”