George Pell is a day closer to walking free from prison, but Victoria's Court of Appeal is keeping the disgraced cardinal in the dark on whether it'll be sooner rather than later.
The convicted pedophile is serving at least three years and eight months behind bars for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral in 1996, but three of the state's most senior judges are considering if the convictions should be overturned.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, Court of Appeal President Chris Maxwell and Justice Mark Weinberg have reserved their decision after hearing from Pell's lawyers that a jury should not have been able to find him guilty on the evidence.
Pell, who turns 78 on Saturday, has always denied the charges and is pinning his hopes on the outcome of a two-day appeal bid which ended on Thursday.
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Pell's defence team urged the judges to accept that the verdicts on one charge of sexual penetration of a child and four of committing indecent acts with or in the presence of a child were "unsafe and unsatisfactory".
While a surviving victim gave evidence that was accepted by the jury, Mr Walker said it was in the face of 20 prosecution witness who gave exculpatory evidence, including an alibi that it was Pell's practice to greet parishioners straight after mass, and not return to the sacristy where the offending was said to have happened.
Prosecutor Chris Boyce QC, accompanied by trial prosector Mark Gibson QC, argued the evidence of the victim, now in his 30s, was moving enough to convince the jury that Pell was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The judges gave little, if anything, away about how they might decide.
"I've said it before that I think juries almost always get it right," Justice Weinberg said.
"The word is almost."
Australian Associated Press