Disgraced cardinal George Pell was moved from Melbourne Assessment Prison this month. Picture: Andy Brownbill
Disgraced cardinal George Pell was moved from Melbourne Assessment Prison this month. Picture: Andy Brownbill

What really prompted Pell’s prison move

POLICE investigating a drone which was spotted hovering metres from George Pell have concluded it was not spying on him.

A Victoria Police probe found the drone was being flown as part of an unrelated "commercial operation".

Two men were interviewed by police and referred to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The Catholic cardinal was moved from Melbourne Assessment Prison after a drone was spotted hovering near a visitors' garden frequented by Pell on January 9.

The security breach landed him at Barwon Prison, with the state's most dangerous criminals.

 

Pell has been moved to Barwon Prison. Picture: Jason Edwards
Pell has been moved to Barwon Prison. Picture: Jason Edwards

It is understood he will remain there for some time even though he was found not to have been a spy target.

A prison source told the Herald Sun: "There are no plans to move him back".

A Department of Justice spokesman said prisons conduct "rigorous security and risk assessments to ensure the safe and secure placement of all prisoners".

In 2018, the state government brought in a maximum penalty of two years behind bars for anyone caught with a drone within 120m of a jail or youth justice centre.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is assessing whether it will investigate the men involved in the prison threat.

 

George Pell has been in jail for nearly one year. Picture: AAP Image/Erik Anderson
George Pell has been in jail for nearly one year. Picture: AAP Image/Erik Anderson


Those in breach of the rules can be hit with fines of up to $10,500, a spokesman said.

Pell has spent almost a year in custody in Melbourne on child sex offences.

He is serving a maximum sentence of six years for abusing two choirboys in the 1990s, while he was Archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell will have a final chance to overturn the convictions at the High Court of Australia later this year.

aneeka.simonis@news.com.au

@AneekaSimonis


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