Cardinal George Pell may face fresh charges after his committal hearing heard a witness, who was due to face cross-examination, had provided a new statement to police. Source: The Age.
The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday that the witness had supplied the new statement to police on Monday evening.
Cardinal Pell, 76, the former archbishop of both Melbourne and Sydney, faces multiple historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants. Details of the charges are yet to be revealed. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The new statement is understood to contain further allegations against the cardinal.
Cardinal Pell’s high-profile defence barrister, Robert Richter QC, said the “troubling” statement put his legal team in an “invidious” position and would not allow them to have the opportunity to properly cross-examine the witness.
They argued it should not be considered during the committal hearing.
“Whether charges are to be laid or not … it should not be part of this committal at this stage,” Mr Richter told the court.
Mr Richter said the statement was “problematic” and argued it should instead be included in another later hearing if charges were to proceed, once his legal team had been given time to investigate the claims.
“We have not had any opportunity to do any investigation,” Mr Richter told the court.
The witness had been called to give evidence to answer questions about an earlier statement he had provided to police which placed Cardinal Pell at a location at the time an alleged sexual offence is claimed to have occurred.
Mr Richter requested the witness’ first statement be removed from the police brief of evidence and that he no longer be called to give evidence in the hearing.
Prosecutors did not oppose his request and the witness will no longer give evidence.
Five other witnesses also gave evidence on Tuesday.
The hearing before magistrate Belinda Wallington at Melbourne Magistrate’s Court continues.
George Pell witness dropped as evidence could lead to more charges (The Australian)