Dozens of witnesses are anticipated to give proof when Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell faces an Australian court docket once more in March on fees of historic sexual assault.
One of essentially the most senior figures within the Vatican, Pell appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court Friday after he was charged by detectives from Victoria Police in June.
He is preventing a number of allegations of historic sexual abuse however due to authorized causes the main points of the fees haven’t but been made public.
His barrister Robert Richter QC already instructed the court docket within the first listening to in July his shopper would plead not responsible.
Cardinal Pell, who has stood down from his position in Rome to face court docket in his residence nation, has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations.
The witnesses will give proof and might be cross-examined throughout a month-long committal listening to scheduled to happen from March 5 subsequent yr.
The committal listening to will decide whether or not there’s sufficient proof to commit him to stand trial at the next court docket.
An enormous media scrum adopted Pell as he arrived and left court docket on Friday and supporters and protestors crowded for an opportunity to see the cardinal.
The 76-year-old has been given a depart of absence from his position on the Holy See as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy whereas he fights the case within the metropolis the place he was as soon as Archbishop.
‘I am innocent of these charges’
Pell is essentially the most senior cardinal within the historical past of the Catholic Church ever to face legal fees.
The cardinal has lengthy been a outstanding determine in Australia’s Catholic Church, serving first because the Archbishop of Melbourne after which the Archbishop of Sydney earlier than heading to the Vatican.
Before taking a depart of absence, he was thought of one of Pope Francis’ high advisers.
Speaking at a media convention on the Holy See’s press workplace in June after being charged he mentioned: “I’m trying ahead, lastly, to having my day in court docket.
“I am innocent of these charges; they are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”
Australia continues to be coming to phrases with a report launched by the nation’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in February.
According to figures within the report, 7% of Australian clergymen have been accused of abusing kids between 1950 and 2010.
Additionally, the fee said the Catholic Church had been reluctant to examine the reported abuse and helped to cowl up incident after they have been reported.