The unanimous seven-zero ruling by the High Court effectively liberating Cardinal Pell from the charges laid against him was “about as emphatic as it gets,” according to Sky News host Peta Credlin.
“It’s very rare that you’ll have a unanimous decision like that from the full bench of the High Court” where they share a single judgement, she said.
It was “very clear in their minds that they regard him as not meeting the burden of proof even though that is where the jury landed”.
According to Ms Credlin, “there are two burdens of proof and in a civil case it’s ‘the balance of probabilities’ whereas in a criminal case… its ‘beyond reasonable doubt’”.
“The High Court found that there is no way the jury could have found without any reasonable doubt that George Pell was guilty of the crimes he was alleged to have committed,” she said.
When the case was taken to the Victorian Court of Appeal, Ms Credlin said the bench of three appeared to be “confusing the lower burden of proof in a civil case with the higher burden of proof in a criminal case”.
“A year 10 legal studies student would never get that wrong but it seems the court and the directions to the jury” make this mistake.
“There needs to be a long hard look at how the Victorian police got into this situation,” Ms Credlin said.