Vatican treasurer to stand trial for sex offences — Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell will find out on Tuesday if he will stand trial over historical sex offence charges

Pell will be the highest-ranking Catholic official to go to trial over sexual offense charges.

"It is hard to see how a jury could convict on the evidence of a man who has said on his affirmation that he cannot recall what he said a minute ago", Wallington said of an alleged victim she deemed an "unsatisfactory witness", according to the AP.

Wearing a cleric's collar, Pell earlier arrived by vehicle in front of the downtown court where police officers were waiting to maintain order. Richter said the allegations were an attempt to destroy the cardinal's reputation. Cases so weak a jury could not possibly convict a defendant had to be thrown out. His attorneys have been fighting tooth and nail to keep the prosecution from bringing any charges, hoping to keep their client away from a courtroom, but they just lost that fight.

"He [the complainant] could not reconcile the differences", Wallington said. "In this case the inconsistencies must be examined as a fundamental defect in evidence ..." She said this had damaged the complainant's reliability.

Pell's lawyers told the court that the first complainant approached police in 2015, 40 years after the alleged crimes.

"I think issues of credibility and reliability are matters for a jury, except where you get to a point where the credibility is effectively annihilated", she said.

It is also alleged offences took place in a church and at other locations. A further related charge was withdrawn.

The former Sydney and Melbourne archbishop has been on leave from the Vatican, returning to Australia to fight the allegations which relate to incidents that allegedly occurred long ago.

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The charges committed for trial will be dealt with by Victoria's County Court.

In rare cases, even reporting the existence of a suppression order can be forbidden, meaning that journalists cannot tell readers precisely why certain details are missing from their coverage.

Pell stands accused of sexually molesting multiple individuals in his home in Victoria over a period spanning from the 1970s, when he served as a priest, to the 1990s, when he served as archbishop of Melbourne.

Corrects Pell was seated, not standing, when he entered his plea.

Cardinal George Pell departs the Melbourne Magistrates Court in Melbourne today.

He was ordered to appear in court Wednesday. The Vatican meetings will set the date for the start of the conclave this month and help identify candidates among the cardinals to be the next leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. A directions hearing will be held this week.

Immediately after the ruling, the Archdiocese of Sydney released a statement saying it wouldn't comment on the legal proceedings and that justice should take its course.

"He will defend the remaining charges".

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