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Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has failed in a legal bid to quash his convictions in Australia.

Pell was jailed for six years in March after being found guilty of abusing two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s. He maintains his innocence.

A court of appeal rejected Pell’s argument that the verdict was unfair.

The former Vatican treasurer, 78, will now consider a final appeal in the nation’s highest court.

Last December, a jury unanimously convicted Pell of sexually abusing the 13-year-old boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Pell challenged the verdict by arguing it was “unreasonable” because there was insufficient evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.

The cleric’s lawyers said the jury had relied too heavily on the “uncorroborated evidence” of the sole surviving victim. But his appeal was dismissed 2-1 by a panel of three judges in Victoria’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

“Justice [Chris] Maxwell and I accepted the prosecution’s submission that the complainant was a compelling witness, was clearly not a liar, was not a fantasist and was a witness of truth,” said Chief Justice Anne Ferguson.

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Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has failed in a legal bid to quash his convictions in Australia.

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has failed in a legal bid to quash his convictions in Australia.

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has failed in a legal bid to quash his convictions in Australia.

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has failed in a legal bid to quash his convictions in Australia.