Australian court orders Cardinal Pell to stand trial

The Australian court has ordered Cardinal George Pell to stand trial.

He will be defending historical sexual offence allegations which he denies.

The Vatican has issued the following statement about the court’s decision:

“The Holy See has taken note of the decision issued by judicial authorities in Australia regarding His Eminence Cardinal George Pell.

“Last year, the Holy Father granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations. The leave of absence is still in place.”

On Tuesday the Australian magistrate presiding over last month’s committal hearing, Brenda Wallington, dismissed some of the most serious charges of “historical sexual offences” against Pell.

However, she also ruled that Pell must stand trial on at least three other complaints.

Wallington’s decision was not unexpected. She announced during the hearing that she believed a person should be committed to stand trial unless there was a “fundamental defect” in the evidence.

“I think issues of credibility and reliability are matters for a jury, except where you get to a point where the credibility is effectively annihilated,” she said.

Pell has consistently denied the charges. He pleaded “not guilty” on Tuesday during his court hearing.

He is expected to face a directions hearing in Melbourne’s County Court in the future, when a trial date will be set.

Pell’s attorney on Tuesday said he may seek separate trials, given the nature of the remaining allegations.


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