Friday, 14 December 2018
Latest news
Main » Cardinal Pell returns to court to fight sexual offence charges

Cardinal Pell returns to court to fight sexual offence charges

06 March 2018

The 76-year-old faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday for the start of a four-week hearing that will decide if he stands trial on the charges involving multiple complainants, which he denies.

He was charged by detectives from Victoria Police's Sano taskforce in June previous year and was granted leave by the Pope to return to Australia from the Vatican to fight the charges.

Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell said in court on Monday that police failed to follow procedure in investigating alleged sex crimes against him.

Magistrate Belinda Wallington replied: 'No, they're also there for vulnerable and traumatised people'.

Richter on Monday accused police who investigated Pell of failing to follow guidelines for investigating prominent people.

In court, Cardinal Pell's barrister Robert Richter QC took issue with an initiative that allows a trained Labrador to comfort those giving evidence during the hearing. The pope has said he will not comment on the case until it is over.

When Pell was promoted in 2014, he was already facing allegations that he had mishandled cases of clergy abuse during his time as archbishop of Melbourne and, later, Sydney. For Pell, the charges are a threat to his freedom, his reputation and his career.

Pell will not have to enter a formal plea unless committed to stand trial, but Richter told his client's first court appearance last July that Pell will plead not guilty to all charges.

Pakistan bans screening of Anushka Sharma starrer 'Pari'
Only time will reveal if Pari will be able to impress the audience like it did Virat and rule the box office as well. In Sui Dhaaga, Varun essays the role of a tailor named - Mauji, while Anushka is an embroider, named Mamta.

One of charges was withdrawn on Friday, reportedly because the accuser died.

Pell arrived 40 minutes before proceedings were to begin.

Richter did not say what type of assistant would accompany Pell and no other details were available.

The court hearing in Melbourne is expected to run for a month.

Pell was excused from giving evidence in person to a session of Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2016 due to a heart ailment.

Pell's defence team said last week that part of their cross-examination would be to determine when the accusers first disclosed he had allegedly abused them, as they try to prove the allegations were a "recent invention".

Pell appeared before it three times, once in person and twice via video-link from Rome over his dealings with paedophile priests in Victoria state in the 1970s. Pell said he intends to continue his work as a prefect of the church's economy ministry once the case is resolved.

Cardinal Pell returns to court to fight sexual offence charges