Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Cardinal George Pell: Green light to charge him

Cardinal George Pell SHARE Share on Facebook SHARE Share on Twitter TWEET Link
Ellis Copeland | 17 May, 2017, 13:37

Cardinal Pell, who, as the Vatican's finance chief is considered the third most powerful person in the Catholic Church, has said each and every allegation of abuse and cover-up against him is false.

The investigation is reportedly related to claims by two men that they were abused by Pell in the late 1970s when he was a priest in Ballarat, Victoria.

Milligan has covered the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse and a year ago interviewed two men who claimed they were abused by Pell in the 1970s, when he was a priest at Ballarat.

It is understood that Victoria's DPP has advised police that based on its assessment of the evidence they can charge the Cardinal.

Victoria Police has received advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions about its investigation into Cardinal Pell, days after fresh details of the claims were aired.

A police statement on Wednesday said investigators have since received advice from Director of Public Prosecutions John Champion, the state's top prosecutor, on the sexual assault investigation.

The legal letter also claimed the publication of the book's allegations were a "deliberate attempt to influence the public opinion in a manner that would make it impossible for our client to receive a fair hearing in court should he be charged".

"We have to respect due process, wait until it is concluded and obviously I will continue to co-operate fully".

Cardinal Pell's office issued a statement at the time, saying he had never abused anyone.

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'Unlike MUP, the Cardinal will not interfere with the course of justice.

"Everyone supports just investigation of complaints but the relentless character attacks on Cardinal Pell, by some, stand the principle of innocent-until-proven-guilty on its head".

Professor Rothwell said it was "somewhat doubtful" whether or not Cardinal Pell would have diplomatic immunity. Pell, who runs the Vatican's economy ministry, has repeatedly denied all the allegations.

'As with any investigation it will be a decision for Victoria Police as to whether charges are laid.

The police brief was revised and sent back to the OPP for consideration after Cardinal Pell was questioned in Rome by three detectives from Sano Taskforce.

However, Australian National University professor of worldwide law Donald Rothwell believes Cardinal Pell would want to return to Australia to mount a vigorous defence if charged.

He said Cardinal Pell could refuse to step outside the Vatican walls to avoid prosecution, as there is no extradition treaty legally compelling him to return to Australia.

"The Cardinal does not wish to cause any distress to any victim of abuse".

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