Cardinal Pell bombshell: Sex offence trial could be compromised after court staffer is found accessing restricted documents

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The Daily Mail

By Charlie Moore For Daily Mail Australia

  • Cardinal George Pell was charged with historical sexual assault offences in 2017
  • A court staff member has been sacked for accessing information before his trial 
  • The employee reportedly found the information on the court’s computer system
  • The breach will be addressed when the Cardinal returns to court on Wednesday 

Cardinal George Pell's trial over historical sex abuse charges may have been compromised. Pictured: Pell at court on 2 May, 2018

Cardinal George Pell’s trial over historical sex abuse charges may have been compromised. Pictured: Pell at court on 2 May, 2018

Cardinal George Pell‘s trial over historical sex abuse charges may have been compromised by a rogue court worker.

The staffer at the Victoria District Court has been sacked for looking up highly sensitive information about the upcoming trial.

They reportedly found the information on the court’s computer system in a major security breach.

Exactly what the employee discovered is not clear, reported The Herald Sun.

Court staff have now been warned about accessing case information without authority.

The breach will be addressed when the Cardinal returns to court before Chief Judge Peter Kidd for a directions hearing on Wednesday.

It is not clear if there are grounds for the judge to declare a mistrial.

A spokesman for the court said: ‘The court takes the management and security of information seriously and has systems in place to detect where information is accessed without authority.

‘When improper access to information is found to occur, the court takes decisive action. This is exactly what has occurred in this case.

‘The court pays thorough attention to ensuring our staff have privacy and information management training at induction, and we maintain a focus throughout their employment on the importance of appropriate management of information.’

On June 29, 2017, Pell was charged with multiple historical sexual assault offences.  He denies all charges.

On June 29, 2017, Pell (pictured on May 2, 2018) was charged with multiple historical sexual assault offences, but denied all charges

On June 29, 2017, Pell (pictured on May 2, 2018) was charged with multiple historical sexual assault offences, but denied all charges

Details of the nature and number of charges have not been revealed for legal reasons. Pictured: County Court of Victoria in Melbourne

Details of the nature and number of charges have not been revealed for legal reasons. Pictured: County Court of Victoria in Melbourn

The Pope permitted him to leave the Vatican – where he was treasurer – and return to Australia to defend himself at a committal hearing.

Once believed to be in the running to replace the current Pope after his death, Pell is now the highest-ranking Catholic official to be facing trial for historical sexual offence allegations.

Details of the nature and number of charges have not been revealed for legal reasons.

They relate his time as Archbishop of Melbourne and as a young priest in Ballarat.

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The Pope’s right hand man: Who is Cardinal George Pell?

Born on June 8, 1941 in Ballarat, Victoria, George Pell is Australia’s most senior Catholic. He has held many significant positions since being ordained in 1966.

Most recently, he was the treasurer of the Vatican and the Holy See in Rome, Italy. The role put George Pell third in charge after the Pope.

Prior to this, the Cardinal was the Archbishop of Sydney and the Archbishop of Melbourne; in the latter position, Pell set up the ‘Melbourne Response’ diocesan protocol to handle and investigate complaints of sexual abuse.

1 Response to Cardinal Pell bombshell: Sex offence trial could be compromised after court staffer is found accessing restricted documents

  1. Sylvia says:

    This plays right into the hands of Pell’s lawyers. Heaven forbid it results in a mistrial.
    Please keep the complainants in your prayers.

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