COURTS: Australia's Cardinal George Pell is sentenced to six years in jail after becoming the highest-ranking Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of child sex crimes. Pell was found guilty in December last year of sexually assaulting two choirboys following a Sunday mass at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996 and 1997. After losing his first appeal, the former Vatican treasurer gets one final chance to fight his convictions in the High Court. The full bench is expected to hear appeal arguments early in 2020.
POLICE: A royal commission into the management of police informers in Victoria - centring on Nicola Gobbo, also known as Lawyer X - starts in February. Ms Gobbo acted at various times as a police informant from 1995 to 2009 while also representing alleged criminals. The commission, led by Margaret McMurdo, has to work out how many of hundreds of cases have been affected by Ms Gobbo - and potentially others - being a police informant. The inquiry cannot quash convictions, change sentences or order retrials, but convicted criminals queue up for appeals. Faruk Orman becomes the first person linked to Ms Gobbo to have his criminal conviction overturned, walking free after 12 years behind bars for an underworld murder he always denied. The inquiry is set to continue well into 2020.
PROTESTS: It's a year of protests - environmental activism, a campaign to stop a Tamil family from deportation, anti-horse racing events and vigils for murdered women. Hundreds of activists blockade a global mining conference in Melbourne in October, weeks after climate action group Extinction Rebellion shut down parts of the CBD. Protesters also support Sri Lankan family Priya, Nadesalingam and their two Australian-born children against deportation in August. After a last-minute injunction prevents the family being sent back to Sri Lanka, they remain in detention on Christmas Island as the legal stoush continues. Mass public gatherings are also held for women killed in Melbourne in 2019, including Courtney Herron, Natalina Angok and Aiia Maasarwe.
Australian Associated Press