Pope holds off position on Pell claims

7 News

Pope Francis says he will wait until Australian justice takes its course before taking a position on Cardinal George Pell, who is under investigation in his homeland over sexual abuse allegations.

But the pope, speaking to reporters aboard the plane returning to Rome form Poland on Sunday, said Pell, now the Vatican’s powerful economy minister, should not undergo a trial by the media or by rumour.

Victoria state Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said on a Melbourne radio station program on Thursday that Victoria police had been investigating allegations against Pell for more than a year.

“It’s in the hands of the justice system and one cannot judge before the justice system,” the pope said in answer to a question.

“Justice has to take its course …and justice by the media or justice by rumour does not help. After the justice system speaks, I will speak,” he said.

He said Pell had a right to the benefit of the doubt like all those accused.

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