Melbourne, Australia

Australia's High Court will rule on Wednesday whether to allow a final bid by Vatican former treasurer George Pell to overturn his convictions for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the late 1990s.

Pell, the highest ranking Catholic worldwide to be convicted of child sex offences, was jailed in March for six years, and would become eligible for parole in October, 2022, aged 81.

George Pell 2017

Then-Vatican Treasurer Cardinal George Pell is surrounded by Australian police as he leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court in Australia, on 6th October, 2017. PICTURE: Reuters/Mark Dadswell/File

In September, Pell sought leave to appeal against a ruling by the appeal court in the southeastern state of Victoria that upheld his conviction on five charges of abusing the boys at St Patrick's Cathedral when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

The High Court will hand down its decision at 9:30am, the court's spokesman said. If it grants leave to appeal, the case will be heard in 2020. 

Pell's lawyers appealed against the two-to-one decision by the Court of Appeal, saying the majority were wrong in concluding that the verdicts were not unreasonable.

They were also wrong in shifting to the defence the burden of proving it would have been impossible for Pell to have committed the offences, the lawyers said.