Today Cardinal George Pell appeared in court for the second time, and his barrister has welcomed the magistrate’s decision to permit 50 witnesses.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on October 6, 2017

Magistrate Belinda Wallington today permitted more than 50 crown witnesses to be questioned at Cardinal George Pell’s committal hearing next year.

It was the second time the Vatican’s third most senior official has appeared at the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court over sexual assault allegations, and his barrister welcomed the judgment, saying even the witnesses that have claimed not to remember anything can help paint an overall picture.

Robert Richter QC told the court, the witnesses could be examined about “when they assemble, when they robe, when they go into the Cathedral, when they go out of the Cathedral, when they disrobe … it doesn’t take much to put two and two together.

“The notion that nobody observed somebody breaking ranks as part of a formal march back to the choir room is of great significance … everyone would have seen if they spun off somewhere,” he added.

Cardinal Pell pleaded not guilty to all charges in July, and maintained his innocence today, with Mr Richter telling the court — “We say what was alleged is impossible”.

The four-week hearing is set down for March 5 next year, and will determine if there is enough evidence for the 76-year-old to stand trial over allegations yet to be detailed to the public.