George Pell to learn fate on August 21

Kaitlyn Offer
George Pell will hear the result of his appeal against his conviction for sexual abuse next week

Disgraced Cardinal George Pell could be a free man as early as next week if he wins his fight to overturn a conviction for molesting two choirboys.

The Court of Appeal will deliver its decision on Wednesday, August 21, in a summary that will be broadcast live to the world on the court's website.

The 78-year-old former Vatican official could walk free, be sent to a retrial or remain in prison depending on the decision by the justices.

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.

Pell has always denied the charges and first went on trial in August 2018, but the jury was discharged when it could not make a unanimous decision.

A retrial in November and December convicted Pell, but the verdict was suppressed because of another child sexual abuse case, which eventually did not go ahead.

In their appeal, Pell's legal team urged the judges to accept as "unsafe and unsatisfactory" 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.

While a surviving victim's evidence was accepted by the jury, Pell's lawyers 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.

Prosecutors 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 appeal decision will be delivered nearly three months after his appeal hearing before Supreme Court Justice Anne Ferguson, Court of Appeal President Chris Maxwell and Justice Mark Weinberg.

Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli on Wednesday revealed he had visited Pell in prison about two months ago.

"He has a sense of waiting, as with anything there would be a psychological agitation about waiting for what's going to be the outcome of the appeal, but I found him strong spiritually and calm and very conversive," Archbishop Comensoli told ABC Melbourne.

Authorities are also investigating whether a letter circulating online, apparently written by Pell to supporters, breaks prison rules.