What the jury was told in the courtroom during the first seven days of the retrial of Cardinal George Pell has been revealed.
The 77-year-old was found guilty in December of orally raping a 13-year-old boy and molesting another after Sunday mass at St Patrick Cathedral in East Melbourne in 1996. Pell is appealing that conviction.
On Wednesday, he was taken into custody at the conclusion of a County Court pre-sentence hearing and is now adjusting to jail life ahead of his sentencing on March 13.
The verdict was suppressed until this week for legal reasons, but now what the jury heard in court before unanimously finding him guilty can be revealed.
Day 1 – November 8
Prosecutors allege that after Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, two choirboys sneaked away from the procession outside and re-entered the cathedral via a side door.
It is then claimed the two boys entered a priest’s sacristy, where they started swigging at the sacramental wine, before being “caught” by Pell.
It is then alleged that the newly installed archbishop of the Melbourne diocese, still in his ornamental robes, sexually assaulted the pair.
In his opening address Pell’s barrister, Robert Richter QC, said this was no trial over Pell’s knowledge of pedophilia in the Catholic church, following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“This is not a trial about whether he knew about pedophile priests and didn’t do anything to stop them,” he said.
“The trial here is on the most senior Catholic cleric actually orally raping a child of 13 and doing some other disgusting things with two children.”
He slammed a song, written by comedian Tim Minchin, about Pell as “toxic” and “offensive”.
“Some of you might have heard a song by Tim Minchin called Come back Cardinal Pell,” he told the jury.
“Well he came back and he came back of his own accord to clear his name. He came back voluntarily. That song was a toxic song at the time, an offensive song, and it made a lot of media.”
He said the media portrayed his client as “the Darth Vader of the Catholic church”.
Day 5 – November 14
The jury visits the cathedral to see the sacristy where the former choirboy alleged he was orally raped and another child molested.
Meanwhile, Pell watched proceedings from the dock with a pair of crutches at his side.
The jury also heard pre-recorded evidence from two other former choirboys who sang alongside the alleged victims at Sunday solemn mass.
Former soprano Aidan Quinn said after mass, the choirboys would get changed and go home.
He also said the boys would speak to Pell before mass or in the corridors, and that on Sundays the new archbishop was always robed.
He denied under cross-examination that his memories from 1996 and 1997 were not “particularly clear”.
Day 8 – November 19
It is possible that George Pell was alone during times two choirboys say he molested them 20 years ago, a church official concedes at Pell’s trial.
Prosecutors allege two 13-year-old boys were able to slip away to the priest’s sacristy where they were “caught” drinking wine by Pell and sexually abused by him in November 1996.
Sacristan Max Potter, who was in charge of the sacristy at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral for nearly 40 years, initially claimed it was impossible for Pell to have been alone in the chamber where he disrobed after Sunday mass.
Questioned by prosecutor Mark Gibson, he initially rejected any suggestion that Pell may have disrobed alone.
“No. We were always there to help,” he said.
But when asked about what he told police in 2016, he admitted there were times when he wasn’t around and couldn’t categorically say someone else had been with Pell the entire time.
He was also asked about access to wine, which prosecutors allege the boys swigged before being molested by Pell.
Mr Potter said sacramental wine was sometimes left out between masses and could be accessible to anyone coming through the sacristy.
Choirmaster Peter Michael Finnigan said it would be unlikely for any boys to sneak away from the procession as boys made their way from the cathedral to the choir room after mass.
He said 13-year-old boys would be in the front third of the procession and conceded if he didn’t notice the boys slip away there were 30 or 40 other younger boys behind who may see.
“Other boys would probably tell on them too,” he said.
But he said if the boys did manage to sneak away unnoticed he wouldn’t necessarily know.
There was no roll call after mass, he said.
Day 14 – November 27
“The allegations are a product of fantasy,” Pell tells police sent to Rome to interview him in 2016
The 45 minute-long taped record of interview was shown to the jury.
In the interview Detective Sergeant Christopher Reed said the boys claimed Pell “planted” himself between them and the doorway to prevent them leaving the sacristy before he exposed himself.
“What absolute and disgraceful rubbish,” Pell said in the interview.
The cardinal said the sacristy was hardly a place to commit pedophilia.
Day 18 – December 3
Mr Gibson wraps up the prosecution case, telling jurors opportunities did exist for the offending to occur as they’d heard directly from the surviving victim, now in his 30s.
“He (Pell) planted himself in the doorway and said something like ‘what are you doing here’ or ‘you’re in trouble’,” Mr Gibson said, quoting the choirboy’s testimony.
He recalled three separate acts, each lasting no more than two minutes.
On another occasion, alleged by Mr Gibson to have occurred in February 1997, the boy recalled being pushed against a wall and touched by Pell in an incident lasting two or three seconds.
“I didn’t complain to anyone at that time. It felt like an anomaly. I was in shock and didn’t tell,” Mr Gibson said quoting the victim.
He said that neither of the boys had come forward immediately afterwards, and that one of the boys later denied being abused when asked directly by his parents, did not mean the abuse did not occur.
“It’s something I’ve carried for the whole of my life … It took a courage much later in life for me to even think about coming forward,” Mr Gibson quoted to jurors.
Day 19 – December 4
A man who says he was one of two choirboys sexually abused by George Pell in Melbourne 20 years ago is all that supports the case against him, Pell’s lawyer says.
Not a single person can support the allegation except the surviving complainant, Robert Richter told the jury in closing arguments that included a slide show.
He derided the complainant’s evidence as “fanciful” and possibly embellished to the point he now believed it.
Mr Richter asked jurors to consider “who in their right mind would take the risk of doing what (the complainant) says happened”.
He said it was impossible for the incidents alleged by the surviving complainant to have occurred in the six-minute window the prosecution says it did because of the number of adults moving around the cathedral, including through the priest’s sacristy.
Day 21 – December 6
Judge Peter Kidd tells jurors to think with their heads not their hearts and to act dispassionately in their decision making.
“You mustn’t in any way be influenced by knowledge you might have of childhood sexual abuse in the Catholic Church or cover-ups of abuse in the Catholic Church,” he said.
“You must not scapegoat Cardinal Pell.”
The jury began deliberating in the afternoon.
Day 24 – December 11
Pell is found guilty of one count of sexual penetration of a child and four charges of committing indecent acts with or in the presence of a child.
As the jury foreperson read out the verdicts, Pell frowned and hung his head low.
Judge Kidd allowed Pell’s bail to be continued until a plea hearing, after Mr Richter said the cardinal needed surgery to replace both knees.
The judge also thanked the jurors for their work.
“It needs to be recognised this was an onerous case both in terms of the length of the trial and the issues you had to grapple with,” he said.
He excused them from further jury service for a period of 10 years.