Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Cardinal George Pell: Vatican treasurer faces historical sexual offences trial

Cardinal Pell trial decision imminent George Pell won't stand trial on most serious sex charges: Reports
Ray Hunter | 01 May, 2018, 12:43

Australia's highest ranking Catholic will go to trial on historic sexual offence charges, but the most serious charges against him have been thrown out.

He will next appear in court on Wednesday in Melbourne.

The exact details and nature of the allegations have not been made public, other than they involve "multiple complainants".

Some court attendees reportedly broke into applause when Magistrate Wallington ended today's hearing. According to the Commission, the Catholic Church received complaints from 4,500 people between 1980 and 2015 for alleged child abuses committed by around 1,880 members of the institution, especially priests, and some cases dated back to the 1920s.

Pell, who entered the court surrounded by a large police presence, was released on bail on the condition he does not leave Australia. The trial is the first time such a senior figure in the Holy See has faced criminal charges.

Tuesday's decision to send Pell's case to trial will be a shock to an already embattled Catholic Church, which has been fighting allegations of abuse among its clergy for decades. When asked to enter a plea, the cardinal said in a loud, clear voice, "not guilty".

JEE-results to be declared today
As per the JEE Main 2018 results , as many as 2,31,024 candidates have qualified for appearing in JEE Advanced 2018. The Central Board of Secondary Education is going to release the results for the Joint Entrance Examination today.

Wallington ordered those who had previously given evidence or who might be required to give evidence in a trial to leave the court before she handed down her decision.

The Guardian reported that a group of charges related to alleged offences that occurred against two complainants between July 1996 and December 1997.

But Pell's lawyer, Robert Richter, wrapped up four weeks of questioning accusers and witnesses by arguing there was no evidence to support the charges against his client. Melbourne Magistrate Belinda Wallington dismissed some charges but decided the prosecution's case on others was strong enough to warrant a trial by jury.

Wallington told the court that if the evidence was not of sufficient weight to support a conviction, an allegation must be discharged.

The Cardinal's legal team said he had "always and steadfastly maintained his innocence" and would continue to do so at trial.

Lisa Flynn, a lawyer who has represented hundreds of abuse survivors in civil litigation claims in Australia, said the ruling proved no one was above the law.

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