Journalists face possible jail for Cardinal’s trial reporting

Dozens of Australian journalists could face prison or a fine for allegedly breaching a reporting ban on the trial of Cardinal George Pell.

Pell was sentenced this month to six years in prison for sexually assaulting two choirboys.

Reporting details of Pell’s proceedings in any format accessible in Australia was banned under a Melbourne judge’s suppression order in 2018.

It was to prevent a second trial, which was later dropped, from being influenced by the verdict of the prior proceedings.

The state of Victoria’s director of public prosecutions has named 23 journalists and 13 organisations in a legal proceeding before the Supreme Court.

It, however, asked that they be found guilty for breaching the suppression order, contempt of court, aiding and abetting overseas media, and for publishing materials that “had the effect of scandalising the court.”

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According to the court filing released, the motion seeks imprisonment or a fine for them.

Pell, 77, was found guilty in December of raping a choirboy and molesting another in the mid-1990s at St Patrick’s Cathedral when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

The former Vatican treasurer and close adviser to Pope Francis is the highest-ranking Catholic official to be convicted and sentenced for child sexual abuse.

No non-Australian media have been named in the court proceedings, which will begin on April 15

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