Cardinal Pell: Decision due over whether to hold trial

Cardinal Pell: Decision due over whether to hold trial
Cardinal Pell: Decision due over whether to hold trial
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Cardinal Pell, 76, is Australia's most senior Catholic figure

An Australian court is due to rule over whether Cardinal George Pell will stand trial on charges of historic sexual assault.

Cardinal Pell, the Vatican treasurer, is Australia's most senior Catholic and one of the most powerful officials in the Vatican.

He has denied all charges against him.

In June last year, police in the state of Victoria charged the 76-year-old cleric with sexual offence allegations made by "multiple complainants".

Following a month-long hearing in Melbourne, magistrate Belinda Wallington is now due to decide whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed.

Cardinal Pell has rejected the accusations, saying last year: "I am innocent of these charges, they are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me."

His lawyer previously said that he would plead not guilty to all charges.

He is currently on a leave of absence from the Vatican to fight the case against him.

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