Cardinal George Pell has been ordered to stand trial on 10 historic sex offence charges after about half of the charges against him were dismissed.
The Cardinal has formally entered a plea of not guilty to all 10 remaining charges.
Following the decision by Melbourne Magistrate Belinda Wallington, Cardinal Pell released the following statement:
Cardinal George Pell has at all times fully cooperated with Victoria Police and always and steadfastly maintained his innocence. He has voluntarily returned to Australia to meet these accusations.
He will defend the remaining charges.
He would like to thank all those who have supported him from both here in Australia and overseas during this exacting time and is grateful for their continuing support and prayers.
At a directions hearing at Melbourne’s County Court on Tuesday, it was confirmed that the Cardinal will face two separate trials, estimated to run for 5 weeks each. The decision to split the trial was supported by both the prosecution and defence.
A further directions hearing has been set down for 16 May, when a trial date will likely be confirmed.