Vatican Finance Chief's Lawyer Urges Judge to Dismiss Sex Charges

Cardinal Pell’s sex abuse hearing closes ruling expected May 1

Cardinal George Pell targeted to punish Catholic church, defence lawyer says

On the final day of the committal hearing for Cardinal George Pell in Melbourne, the court has been told that numerous allegations against Cardinal George Pell are simply impossible.

Cardinal Pell, who returned from Rome past year to face the charges and had sat through pretrial hearings since early last month, wasn't present. Ms Wallington will announce her decision on May 1.

Mr Richter said the charges were the "stuff of fantasy" and should be thrown out.

"We say that Cardinal Pell representing the Catholic church ... had been the obvious target of such allegations", Richter said, adding that the charges were "not true".

He also suggested claims about Cardinal Pell made in a television program led to other people making complaints against the cardinal, creating a kind of public furore.

Defense lawyer Robert Richter told the magistrate that complainants might have testified against Pell to punish him for failing to act against abuses within the church.

Wallington said she was aware there had been an "overcorrection" by British police in response to decades of disbelieving complainants against entertainer and sex offender Jimmy Savile, but said she has not "seen anything in our state to indicate that that's the position that has been taken". "The approach was "that's what they say and we do not need to test it". The details of the allegations have yet to be released to the public.

PICTURE: Cardinal George Pell arrives at the Melbourne Magistrates Court in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, March 29, 2018.

"She was out for fame and fortune".

Mr Gibson said there was no evidence to back the defence theory that Pell was being targeted because the church had failed to stop sexual abuse.

Cardinal Pell must now wait a fortnight before learning whether he will front a jury in a higher court, as Ms Wallington takes time to consider written and oral submissions from the 76-year-old's defence team and prosecutors.

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