Pope aide Pell to stand trial on multiple sex abuse charges: court

Cardinal George Pell will find out on Tuesday if he will stand trial over historical sex offence charges

Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell will stand trial on historical sexual assault charges, a court has ruled.

Numerous most serious allegations were dismissed in the Melbourne magistrates' court on Tuesday, with witnesses described as unreliable and lacking credibility.

Cardinal Pell formally pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday.

Some court attendees reportedly broke into applause when Magistrate Wallington ended today's hearing. The offences were alleged to have occurred over 12 months and the complainant alleged he was removed from the St Joseph's boys home and from his dorm, and taken to the locations where he alleged the offences occurred. According to the Commission, the Catholic Church received complaints from 4,500 people between 1980 and 2015 for alleged child abuses committed by around 1,880 members of the institution, especially priests, and some cases dated back to the 1920s. Cardinal Pell's supporters and advocates for sexual abuse survivors were also in the room.

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Pell, who entered the court surrounded by a large police presence, was released on bail on the condition he does not leave Australia.

"One would have to be living on Mars not to notice the centre of the allegations has been the Catholic Church", he told the court.

Pell arrived by auto in front of the downtown court where more than 40 uniformed police officers were waiting to maintain order as media jostled to videotape and photograph him.

But following the hearing on Tuesday, his lawyer, Robert Richter QC, argued that the most "vile" allegations against his client had been dismissed.

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Wallington is issuing her ruling in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Archbishop Hart expressed his confidence in the judicial system in Australia and said that justice must now take its course.

He has steadfastly maintained innocence ever since being charged in June a year ago.

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.

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Details of the charges have not been made public and legal cases in Australia are subject to strict contempt laws that bar journalists from reporting on aspects of criminal allegations.

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