Cardinal George Pell will face separate trials in his fight against historical sexual assault charges.
The Cardinal, who has pleaded not guilty, is due to return to the County Court in Melbourne on Wednesday, 16 May for a further directions hearing when it is expected a date for the first trial will be determined.
Half the charges he faced during the committal hearing were dismissed by the magistrate. These were described by his defence barrister Robert Richter as the “vilest of the charges”.
Richter said the remaining 10 charges should run as two separate trials. “They are completely different in nature”, he said and are “separated by 20 years.” The Prosecution agreed to separate trials which relate to allegations when he was a priest in Ballarat in the 1970s and allegations by another accuser when he was archbishop in Melbourne in the 1990s.
When Cardinal Pell took leave from his role as Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy to voluntarily return to Australia nearly 12 months ago to fight the charges, many supporters wanted to contribute to his legal costs.
While the Archdiocese assists with some living expenses and accommodation, as it would for any of its bishops or priests, it is not responsible for the Cardinal’s legal bills arising from these matters.
An independent fund was established where people could contribute to his costs. The Archdiocese of Sydney did not establish the fund nor is it managing the fund.
Following the Cardinal’s recent court appearance there has been further widespread support for the Cardinal from people wanting details of the fund to which they can contribute.
These details are:
Ferdinand Zito and Associates Law Practice Trust Account
Acct No: 1359-51192
Ref Code: LFGP
If you would like to request acknowledgment of the receipt of funds please email fzLFGP@fzlegal.com.au