Australia Today

George Pell in Court: I’m Innocent and It’s All a Big Mistake

The Catholic cleric will stand trial over claims of sexual assault.
May 1, 2018, 5:25am
Pell in 2012. Image via Wiki Commons

On Tuesday, Magistrate Belinda Wallington ruled that there was enough evidence to trial Cardinal George Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, over a trail of sexual abuse accusations going back to the 70s.

Predictably, when asked how he’d like to plead, the 76-year-old Pell shouted “not guilty.”

On some of these matters, the Magistrate seemed to agree, throwing about half the claims out of court. Among these was the claim Pell had sexually abused a victim in a Ballarat cinema. Another was that he'd abused another victim in the city's chapel when he was a priest there in the 70s.

In the near 90-minute ruling, Ms Wallington admitted that another of these charges was thrown out due to a "fundamental defect in the evidence." She also said that another complainant's evidence was unreliable because it was delivered in such a “cavalier” way.

Cardinal Pell didn’t make any comment during his appearance. He is currently on bail and will face a directions hearing on Wednesday morning, when a trial date will likely be set.

Pell will probably be in court for the next 12 months, given the number of accusations against him.