George Pell: Complainants to give evidence on historical sexual offence charges over two weeks
By Emma Younger
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
December 12, 2017
|Cardinal George Pell has strenuously denied the allegations against him.|
It is expected to take up to two weeks for the complainants against Cardinal George Pell to give their evidence at an upcoming committal hearing, a Melbourne court has heard.
The 76-year-old will face the pre-trial hearing in March next year on historical sexual offence charges, involving multiple complainants.
No other details of the case can be reported for legal reasons.
Cardinal Pell strenuously denies the allegations.
Prosecutor Fran Dalziel told a short hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court that a remote facility had been booked for a fortnight to allow the complainants to give evidence via video link.
The court will be closed to the public during that part of the month-long proceeding, as required by law.
Cardinal Pell's defence barrister Ruth Shan told the hearing they had received documents requested from Victoria Police and advocacy group Broken Rites.
Cardinal Pell was not required to attend court today and did not appear.
Another procedural mention has been set down for next Thursday.
The 76-year-old is facing multiple charges of historical sexual offences involving multiple complainants after an investigation by Victoria Police's SANO Taskforce.
Cardinal Pell was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1966 and served in various roles in regional Victoria, before becoming Melbourne's Archbishop in 1996.
He set up the Melbourne Response program for victims of abuse by Catholic priests within the Melbourne archdiocese and became Archbishop of Sydney in 2001.
Since 2014 he has been at the Vatican in Rome where, in his role as Secretariat for the Economy, he is the third-most senior-ranked Catholic official.
A year ago he gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse about abuse by other priests.
Pope Francis has granted him a leave of absence to fight the charges.
Few details of the case can be reported for legal reasons.
Cardinal Pell will face a four-week committal hearing next March.