Shine Lawyers’ head of abuse law, Lisa Flynn, says the dismissal of George Pell’s court appeal shows justice can prevail for survivors of child sexual abuse.
Ms Flynn, who is representing the father of one of the two choirboys abused by Pell in 1996-97, welcomed the Victorian Court of Appeal’s judgement and said it shows courageous victims will be heard and believed when they speak out.
“The court of appeal has made the correct decision by upholding the jury’s verdict,” she said. “The disgraced cardinal is in the right place behind bars.
“This sends a powerful message to all survivors of sexual abuse - you are finally being heard.”
Shine Lawyers has represented more than a 3000 victims of institutional abuse within the Catholic, Anglican and Jehovah’s Witness churches.
Ms Flynn highlighted the immense relief her client – whose son’s life took a downward spiral after being abused by Pell as a 13-year-old – felt when the appeal of Australia’s most senior Catholic was dismissed on Wednesday morning.
“It’s been an extremely tough wait for our client who has had to deal with the awful thought that maybe the man who destroyed his son’s life could have his conviction overturned,” Ms Flynn said.
“He shed tears of relief in the courtroom when the judgement was handed down.”
The man is making a civil claim for compensation against Pell and the Catholic Church after losing his son, aged 31, in 2014 following a drug overdose.
“He has always said that he does not want the man who he holds responsible for his son’s downhill spiral and subsequent fatal heroin overdose to ever again have contact with any members of society,” Ms Flynn said.
“We can only hope that this drawn out process is over once and for all and that the case does not now end up in the High Court of Australia.”
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