“Cardinal George Pell could face fresh charges after new witness statement emerges” & related articles

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The Sydney Morning Herald

20 March 2018 — 12:24pm

Cardinal George Pell may face fresh charges after a sensational development during his committal hearing.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday that a witness, who was due to face cross examination, had supplied a new statement to police on Monday evening.

Cardinal George Pell arrives at court on Tuesday.

Cardinal George Pell arrives at court on Tuesday.

Photo: AAP

Cardinal Pell, 76, the former archbishop of both Melbourne and Sydney, faces multiple historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants.

Details of the charges are yet to be revealed. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The new statement is understood to contain further allegations against the Cardinal.

Cardinal Pell’s high-profile defence barrister, Robert Richter, QC, said the ‘‘troubling’’ statement put his legal team in an ‘‘invidious’’ position and would not allow them to have the opportunity to properly cross-examine the witness.

They argued it should not be considered during the committal hearing.

‘‘Whether charges are to be laid or not … it should not be part of this committal at this stage,’’ Mr Richter told the court.

Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic priest, faces historical sexual abuse charges.

Mr Richter said the statement was ‘‘problematic’’ and argued it should instead be included in another later hearing if charges were to proceed, once his legal team had been given time to investigate the claims.

“We have not had any opportunity to do any investigation,” Mr Richter told the court.

The witness had been called to give evidence to answer questions about an earlier statement he had provided to police which placed the Cardinal at a location at the time an alleged sexual offence is claimed to have occurred.

Robert Richter, QC, arrives at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Robert Richter, QC, arrives at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Photo: AAP

Mr Richter requested the witness’ first statement be removed from the police brief of evidence and that he no longer be called to give evidence in the hearing.

Prosecutors did not oppose his request and the witness will no longer give evidence.

Five other witnesses also gave evidence on Tuesday.

One priest spoke about the cardinal’s time at St Patrick’s Cathedral and said the then-archbishop was never alone when he was there to give Sunday Mass.

Charles Portelli, who was the then-archbishop’s staffer and Master of Ceremonies, said the cardinal was always accompanied by a staff member when he robed and de-robed in the priest’s room.

‘‘It was impossible for him to be alone on a Sunday mass, it was simply impossible,’’ he told the court. ‘‘I was always standing near him.’’

Former assistant of then Archbishop Pell, Max Potter, told the court the priest’s room at St Patrick’s Cathedral was always locked after mass, meaning that outsiders could never enter without a key.

The hearing before magistrate Belinda Wallington continues.

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Cardinal George Pell ‘was never alone’ during masses at cathedral, Catholic priest tells court

ABC News   Australia

20 March 2018

Photo: Cardinal George Pell’s committal hearing is expected to run for another two weeks. (AAP: James Ross)

Any allegation of misconduct levelled at Cardinal George Pell while he was in the sacristy at a cathedral could not possibly have happened, a Melbourne court has been told.

Catholic priest Charles Portelli gave evidence to Cardinal Pell’s committal hearing as he fights historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants.

No other details of the charges can be reported for legal reasons.

Father Portelli assisted the 76-year-old during cathedral ceremonies and told the hearing Cardinal Pell was never alone, before, after or during those masses.

He told the hearing he would help Cardinal Pell put on and take off his robes for masses in the sacristy.

Defence barrister Robert Richter QC asked Father Portelli if it would have been possible for someone apart from other clergy or their assistants to have been in the sacristy when the archbishop was also inside with his robes on.

“No,” he responded.

Father Portelli said it was “absolutely” impossible any allegation of misconduct levelled at Cardinal Pell while he had his vestment on in the sacristy could be true, as he was never alone there while robed.

He said he would normally leave the cathedral with Cardinal Pell after mass so he could drive him to any afternoon engagements.

But Father Portelli told the court there had been instances when Cardinal Pell did not have any post-mass commitments and would leave alone.

New statement raises possibility of further charges

Earlier, the court was told one of the witnesses due to be called at the committal hearing had unexpectedly provided a new statement to police on Monday.

His first statement had placed Cardinal Pell at the location where some of his offending is alleged to have occurred, the court was told.

Mr Richter said the man’s latest statement had raised questions about whether further charges would be laid and asked for him to be removed from the police brief of evidence.

The man will no longer give evidence during the current hearing.

Their evidence cannot be reported.

It is expected to be another two weeks before the hearing concludes and Magistrate Belinda Wallington rules on whether there is enough evidence to commit Cardinal Pell to stand trial.

__________________________________

Cardinal Pell: Police given new information in sex assault case

BBC

20 March 2018

Fresh information about Cardinal George Pell has been given to police, a court hearing into sexual assault allegations against him has heard.

Cardinal Pell, 76, is facing a hearing in Australia that will determine if he stands trial on sexual assault charges.

He has strongly denied what authorities have called historical allegations involving “multiple complainants”.

On Tuesday, the cardinal’s lawyer said he did not know whether new information would lead to additional charges.

Cardinal Pell took a leave of absence from his role as Vatican treasurer last year to fight the charges in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

The current hearing, known as a committal, is expected to continue until at least next week.

Development ‘problematic’, lawyer says

On Tuesday, the Catholic cleric’s lawyer, Robert Richter QC, said that a witness had submitted a new statement to police on Monday.

The same witness had been due to be cross-examined in court on Tuesday, but Mr Richter succeeded in having the testimony postponed.

“Whether charges are to be laid or not… it should not be part of this committal [hearing] at this stage,” Mr Richter told the court, according to The Age newspaper.

Mr Richter described the new statement as “problematic”, saying his legal team would need time to investigate it.

The full details of the allegations against Cardinal Pell have not been made public.

In an open hearing on Monday, the court heard that separate allegations related to a cinema and a swimming pool.

A cinema worker testified that he had no recollection of seeing Cardinal Pell at a screening of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1978.

Another witness said he had never seen Cardinal Pell do anything “untoward” at a swimming pool.

Much of the committal hearing has been closed to the public.

When the hearing concludes, Magistrate Belinda Wallington will decide whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to a trial.

___________________________________

Cardinal George Pell could face fresh charges after new witness statement emerges

The Age

20 March 2018 — 12:24pm

Cardinal George Pell may face fresh charges after a sensational development during his committal hearing.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday that a witness, who was due to face cross examination, had supplied a new statement to police on Monday evening.

Cardinal George Pell arrives at court on Tuesday.

Cardinal George Pell arrives at court on Tuesday.

Photo: AAP

Cardinal Pell, 76, the former archbishop of both Melbourne and Sydney, faces multiple historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants.

Details of the charges are yet to be revealed. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The new statement is understood to contain further allegations against the Cardinal.

Cardinal Pell’s high-profile defence barrister, Robert Richter, QC, said the ‘‘troubling’’ statement put his legal team in an ‘‘invidious’’ position and would not allow them to have the opportunity to properly cross-examine the witness.

They argued it should not be considered during the committal hearing.

‘‘Whether charges are to be laid or not … it should not be part of this committal at this stage,’’ Mr Richter told the court.

Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic priest, faces historical sexual abuse charges.

Mr Richter said the statement was ‘‘problematic’’ and argued it should instead be included in another later hearing if charges were to proceed, once his legal team had been given time to investigate the claims.

“We have not had any opportunity to do any investigation,” Mr Richter told the court.

The witness had been called to give evidence to answer questions about an earlier statement he had provided to police which placed the Cardinal at a location at the time an alleged sexual offence is claimed to have occurred.

Robert Richter, QC, arrives at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Robert Richter, QC, arrives at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Photo: AAP

Mr Richter requested the witness’ first statement be removed from the police brief of evidence and that he no longer be called to give evidence in the hearing.

Prosecutors did not oppose his request and the witness will no longer give evidence.

Five other witnesses also gave evidence on Tuesday.

One priest spoke about the cardinal’s time at St Patrick’s Cathedral and said the then-archbishop was never alone when he was there to give Sunday Mass.

Charles Portelli, who was the then-archbishop’s staffer and Master of Ceremonies, said the cardinal was always accompanied by a staff member when he robed and de-robed in the priest’s room.

‘‘It was impossible for him to be alone on a Sunday mass, it was simply impossible,’’ he told the court. ‘‘I was always standing near him.’’

Former assistant of then Archbishop Pell, Max Potter, told the court the priest’s room at St Patrick’s Cathedral was always locked after mass, meaning that outsiders could never enter without a key.

The hearing before magistrate Belinda Wallington continues.

_______________________________________

Court hears some alleged historical offences by Vatican’s Pell were at a pool, cinema

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Some alleged historical sexual offences by Vatican treasurer George Pell took place at a movie theater and at a swimming pool, a court heard on Monday during a hearing to determine whether to send the case against the Australian Cardinal to trial.

Pell, 76, is the most senior Catholic official worldwide to face such charges, the details of which have not been made public.

His lawyers have said at previous administrative hearings he will plead not guilty to all charges. Pell is not required to enter a formal plea unless a magistrate determines there is cause for a full trial.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard at the start of the third week of pre-trial hearings that one alleged offense had taken place about 40 years ago at a movie theater in a regional area in the state of Victoria.

However, a person who was a projectionist at the cinema at that time and knew Pell from attending church told the court that he did not recall ever having seen him at the theater.

Pell’s lawyer also mentioned an alleged offense more than four decades ago at a swimming pool.

A witness told the court that he had seen Pell at the pool “on numerous occasions”, but had never seen anything untoward nor experienced anything improper.

“For me personally, no. I don’t recall it ever being inappropriate,” he said. His name cannot be disclosed as it might help identify Pell’s accusers.

At the hearing last week, the court heard of alleged offences at other locations in Victoria state.

Australian police last year summoned Pell to return to his home country to appear on charges of historical sexual offences from multiple complainants. He is on a leave of absence from his Vatican role as Pope Francis’ economy minister, which he started in 2014.

The pontiff has said he will not comment on the case until it is over.

The pre-trial hearing is scheduled to go on until the end of March.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Michael Perry and Neil Fullick

One Response to “Cardinal George Pell could face fresh charges after new witness statement emerges” & related articles

  1. Sylvia says:

    Uh-oh!

    More charges in the offing for Cardinal Pell?

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