George Pell: Cardinal in court to fight historical charges

Cardinal Pell denies all of the historic abuse charges against him

Pell has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to fight the historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants. He has been charged with multiple offences from multiple complainants.

Cardinal George Pell's alleged victims began testifying in the Melbourne Magistrates Court against Pope Francis's former finance minister in testimony that can not be made public.

"No trial by Media, " shouted a placard outside the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

As many as 50 people will be called as witnesses at the hearing.

Pell took a seat in the first row of public seating behind his four lawyers, led by Robert Richter. "I know they don't suit the prosecution because they're exculpatory [favourable to the defendant], but they're still there and they're in the possession of the police", he said.

"It is a guide to police about how to fairly investigate claims against prominent people", he told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson asked the court to allow Pell's accusers to have an assistant and a support dog next to them for comfort.

The court heard complainants will have support staff next to them while they give evidence in a remote witness facility.

'I always thought that dogs were for children and very old people, ' Richter said.

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Carol Stingel, who was cross-examined by Richter for four days as part of her 2007 civil rape case against Aboriginal leader Geoff Clark, told CNN the experience was so devastating she believes she should have been treated in the hospital afterwards.

"We say that wasn't followed because there was a presumption of guilt", he said.

Pell will also be allowed to have a support person with him during the closed sessions, with Mr Richter saying it was important because of the cardinal's age and health. Details of the charges and complainants can not be reported for legal reasons.

The hearing was adjourned until 2pm when the first complainant would begin giving their evidence.

Magistrate Belinda Wallington, who is presiding over the hearing, will decide whether to dismiss the charges or whether Pell's case should proceed to a criminal trial in a higher court.

There had been some speculation about whether he would wear the Roman Catholic Church garb for his court appearance Monday.

In December, the Catholic Church in Australia came under pressure from advocates after the country's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its final report. "Other priests and that".

Pell was silent as he entered and left the court to a crush of media cameras and police, as well as throughout the initial 25 minutes of the hearing that was open to the public.



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