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What the grant of leave means: it means that Pell's case isn't over (as it otherwise would have been.) It won't be over until mid-next year. There will be a hearing before five or seven judges probably around March. There will be a judgment probably around June.
The leave decision is made by two (or sometimes three) judges: apparently, it was two this time, Gordon J and Edelman J, the Court's two most 'junior' (recently appointed) judges. The Court will publish a brief transcript of their announcement of leave. It won't be worth reading.
The next step is for the registry to give a 'timetable' to the parties, telling them when they have to put in their submissions: Pell's first, then the DPP's, then a reply. The Court will put these dates in a 'case page' on its website in a couple of weeks.
At any time, Pell could apply for bail. Any application would be heard by a single judge. The Court will consider whether he has good prospects of winning and other factors. (The standard precedent is from the Lindy Chamberlain case. Brennan J refused her request for bail.)
I don't know if Pell would apply for bail. (He didn't before the Victorian Court of Appeal.) But I think he has some reasonable arguments for bail, notably his health, the dangers he faces in prison and his relatively short sentence (relative to the appeal timeline.)
Another thing that might happen before the full court hearing is that the Court may write to the parties telling them things it wants to hear or a judge may hold a hearing to sort out how the arguments should proceed, etc. But usually the case just gets listed for a hearing.
Usually, the Court hears appeals around three or four months after a grant of leave. It takes a break in January, so possible hearing months are February, March, April, etc. If Pell doesn't get bail or is very ill, he could ask the Court to hurry up (but that's unlikely.)
Usually, appeals are heard by courts of five judges (with the other two sitting out. No-one knows how the two are chosen.) They will decide by majority. So, three judges are enough to decide the case either way.
Sometimes, the court chooses to sit seven judges instead of five. It always does this in constitutional cases or when it is thinking of overruling one of its own past decisions. But it also sometimes (increasingly of late) does it in cases that are important legally.
The big excitement at the hearing will be what questions the judges ask. That'll provide (some) clue of how they're thinking. But not much. Remember that everyone though the DPP did terribly at Pell's Victorian appeal, but they still won in the end
At the end of the March(ish) hearing, the Court will likely 'reserve' its decision, which means we have to wait. It usually decides within three months. So, it'll decide around June. We'll get about five days notice.
(There's a small possibility that the Court will announce its order - Pell stays convicted or not - at the end of the March hearing. They did this recently in another criminal appeal. But I don't this that's likely this time.)
At this stage, the two possible outcomes are either appeal dismissed (Pell loses, stays in jail, remains a convicted offender, the end) or appeal allowed (Pell wins, conviction quashed, leaves jail, the end.)
(There's a chance, though, that Pell's arguments could change, even during the hearing. If they do, then other possibility is sending the case back to the Victorian Court of Appeal or - if the arguments really change dramatically - a new trial.)
(There's actually another possibility. The Court could revoke special leave, if for instance they suddenly realise that they made a mistake or misunderstood the facts or something. This is very unlikely in this case, though.)
In short, six more months of this!
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