Pope aide Pell could face two trials over abuse charges

Top Pope aide Cardinal George Pell could face two separate trials as he fights to clear his name over historic sexual offence allegations, an Australian court heard on Wednesday.

A Melbourne judge on Tuesday ordered the Vatican finance chief, 76, to stand trial on multiple charges, making him the highest-ranked Catholic to face such allegations.

Pell pleaded not guilty, and half of the charges initially filed against him were thrown out.

The exact details and nature of the alleged offenses remain confidential, other than they involve “multiple charges and multiple complainants”, dating from the 1970s and 1990s.

Some of the alleged offences were at a swimming pool in the town of Ballarat in Victoria state where Pell was a priest in the 1970s, and a second set of alleged actions were at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s.

At Wednesday’s brief directions hearing in the Victoria County Court, Pell’s barrister Robert Richter argued that because the charges related to different locations and were 20 years apart, they should be split and heard in two trials.

Another court hearing was set for May 16 when final decisions and trial dates are expected to be set.

Pell, who entered the court surrounded by a police cordon, is on bail and has had his passport confiscated.

The former Sydney and Melbourne archbishop has been on leave from the Vatican, returning to Australia to fight the allegations, the most serious of which have been dismissed due to inconsistencies in the evidence.

Pell was one of the Pope Francis’ most trusted aides, handpicked by him in 2014 to make the Church’s finances more transparent.

It cemented a meteoric rise by the Australian, who was Archbishop of Melbourne and then Sydney before being named to the Vatican’s powerful College of Cardinals at the behest of Pope John Paul II in 2003.

In a brief statement Tuesday, the Vatican said it had “taken note of the decision issued by judicial authorities in Australia” and that Pell would remain on the leave of absence granted by the pope to defend himself.

© Agence France-Presse

Agency
External source
Advertisting

EFF ‘circus’ becomes contagion as MPs heckle Malema

ANC MPs test the EFF’s disruptive tactics on the leader of the Red Berets in Sona reply

Ramaphosa ‘neutral’ in Mkhwebane, Parliament impeachment row

However, the president says even if he has a conflict of interest, another Cabinet member could suspend the public protector

Strike-off case pulls in judge

Judge Mushtak Parker is implicated in an application to strike off his former partners. He is also involved in the fight between the Western Cape high court’s judge president and his deputy

One strike and you’re out – registrar tells unions

A municipal workers’ union is the first to be sanctioned for not following the new rule when deciding whether to go on strike
Advertising

Press Releases

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.

NWU student receives international award

Carol-Mari Schulz received the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Hygiene Top Achiever Award.

Academic programme resumes at all campuses

Lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials will all resume today as per specific academic timetables.

Strategic social investments are a catalyst for social progress

Barloworld Mbewu enables beneficiaries to move away from dependence on grant funding

We all have a part to play to make South Africa work

Powering societal progress demands partnerships between all stakeholders

So you want to be a social entrepreneur?

Do the research first; it will save money and time later

Social entrepreneurship means business

Enterprises with a cause at their core might be exactly what our economy desperately needs

Looking inwards

Businesses are finding tangible ways to give back – but only because consumers demand it