Supporters of abuse victims are seen outside the Supreme Court of Victoria (Image: AAP/Julian Smith)

No one on the cold, packed Melbourne sidewalk outside the Supreme Court expected today to go down the way it did.

Before the verdict, members of the Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN), a group for both abuse and institutional survivors, railed against George Pell. They called him an elite, too big to fall, while holding placards calling for “JUSTICE FOR WITNESS J” (Pell’s surviving accuser). Before the news dropped, journos swapped stories of legal sources both shocked at the former Vatican treasurer’s initial conviction for child sex abuse and confident that “reasonable doubt” would see judges overturn the jury.