Reflections on Pell v The Queen [2020] HCA 12: What the Court of Appeal Criminal Division Can Learn from the High Court of Australia

On 7th April Cardinal Pell was cleared by the High Court of Australia of wrongful allegations of historic sexual assault on a chorister. In its judgment, the HCA found there were many improbabilities that had not been fully considered by the jury, amounting to “a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted.” Edward Henry QC considers that cases involving historic allegations of sexual abuse can present a real danger of injustice. The approach of the HCA is one the CACD should adopt in making an assessment of whether a conviction is ‘unsafe.’

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