2 MAY 2018
Top Pope aide Cardinal George Pell could face two separate trials as he fights to clear his name over historic sexual offence allegations, an Australian court heard Wednesday.
A Melbourne judge on Tuesday ordered the Vatican finance chief, 76, to stand trial on multiple charges, making him the highest-ranked Catholic to face such allegations.
Pell pleaded not guilty, and half of the charges initially filed against him were thrown out.
The exact details and nature of the alleged offenses remain confidential, other than they involve “multiple charges and multiple complainants”, dating from the 1970s and 1990s.
Some of the alleged offences were at a swimming pool in the town of Ballarat in Victoria state where Pell was a priest in the 1970s, and a second set of alleged actions were at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s.
At Wednesday’s brief directions hearing in the Victoria County Court, Pell’s barrister Robert Richter argued that because the charges related to different locations and were 20 years apart, they should be split and heard in two trials.
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