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Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to abuse charges in Australia


Cardinal George Pell prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy outside Romes Hotel Quirinale March 3 2016 after meeting with sex abuse survivors. Photo credit: Alexey Gotovskiy CNA

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Vatican City, Jul 26, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- In a brief hearing in a court in Melbourne Wednesday morning, Cardinal George Pell will be pleading not guilty to charges of multiple counts of sexual abuse.

Cardinal Pell did not address the court, but his lawyer, Robert Richter, QC, told the Melbourne Magistrates Court July 26 that "for the avoidance of doubt..Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to all charges, and will maintain the presumed innocence that he has."

In the less than 10-minute-long hearing, the judge, Magistrate Duncan Reynolds, read a prepared statement outlining the reason for the hearing and noted that it was purely administrative.

The senior prosecutor of the case, Andrew Tinney, SC, addressed a packed courtroom with a statement emphasizing the need for "fair and accurate reporting" by media.

Prosecutors have a deadline of Sept. 8 to prepare their brief of evidence, but Tinney indicated that it would likely be ready as early as late next week. The next step in the trial will be a preliminary hearing – called the committal mention – which is set for Oct. 6.

Wednesday’s hearing follows the announcement at the end of June that the police of Victoria, Australia were charging Cardinal Pell on multiple counts of historical sexual abuse.

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