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Hearing date is set for scandal-hit Australian cardinal

Friday, October 06, 2017 - 01:07

An Australian court orders Cardinal George Pell to appear for a hearing next March, as he faces charges of sex crimes. More than 50 witnesses could be called to testify at that time, after which a magistrate will decide whether to call a full trial. Eve Johnson reports.

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Another step towards trial in the Australian sex scandal that's thrust the Vatican into the spotlight. Cardinal George Pell arriving at a court in Melbourne on Friday (October 6), as he faces what police call historical sexual offenses. It's Pell's second court hearing, and lasted only 20 minutes. The court ruled that he'll now face a hearing next March, when a magistrate will decide if there is enough evidence to call a full trial. Australian media say more than 50 witnesses could testify at the hearing. Pell has taken leave from his position as the Vatican's treasurer, returning to his native Australia to defend himself against what he calls false claims. So far, no details of the charges have been made public. Pell's lawyers say that if the case moves to trial, he will plead not guilty on all accounts. The Australian is the third most powerful member of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis says he won't comment on the case until it's over.

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Hearing date is set for scandal-hit Australian cardinal

Friday, October 06, 2017 - 01:07