Cardinal George Pell’s committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court has been opened to the public and the media for the first time since it began on March 5. Source: ABC News.
The hearing has been closed up until yesterday to allow the complainants to give their evidence, which is standard practice in Victoria for cases involving sexual offence charges.
Cardinal Pell is fighting historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complaints. No other details can be reported for legal reasons.
For the past 10 days, a security guard had been stationed by the door to court room 22 at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to ensure no one but Cardinal Pell, his support person, legal team, prosecutors and a magistrate made it inside.
Over five days, multiple complainants gave their evidence via video link before being cross-examined by Cardinal Pell’s barrister Robert Richter QC.
It is expected up to 50 witnesses will have given evidence when the committal hearing concludes.
If Magistrate Belinda Wallington sends the case to trial, Cardinal Pell will be required to enter a plea to the charges.
The hearing is expected to remain open for the rest of the committal hearing which is set down for another fortnight.
Doors open to public in George Pell court case (Herald Sun)
George Pell’s lawyer suggests support group raised cardinal’s name with accuser (Sydney Morning Herald)