Cardinal George Pell arrives at Melbourne Magistrates Court in July before facing a filing hearing on historical sexual assault charges. Picture: Mark Stewart
Cardinal George Pell arrives at Melbourne Magistrates Court in July before facing a filing hearing on historical sexual assault charges. Picture: Mark Stewart

Cardinal George Pell to face court again today

CARDINAL George Pell is expected to return to court today as he continues to fight against historic sexual offence charges.

A small crowd, of mainly media, has been gathered outside the Melbourne Magistrates Court since 5am.

On his first appearance at court in July hundreds of people mobbed the Cardinal in chaotic scenes as he arrived.

The hearing made history with Cardinal Pell the most senior Catholic official to face court on sex offence charges.

The hearing prompted a heavy police presence and security and police are in position again today in anticipation of similar scenes.

Today's hearing, a committal mention, is not expected to be extensive.

Committal mentions are generally procedural in preparation for potential committal hearing.

An update on how the case is proceeding is expected.

Prosecutors were due to serve their complete brief of evidence last month but said publicly it would be ready well in advance of the September 8 deadline.

But he has vehemently denied any wrongdoing since being charged in June and has repeatedly vowed to fight all charges.

Today a number of issues may be canvassed including what witnesses will be called to give evidence at any potential committal hearing, which if it proceeds to committal is tipped to be held early next year.

His lawyer, Robert Richter, QC, said during his first court appearance in July: "For the avoidance of doubt, and because of the interest, might I indicate Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to all the charges and will maintain his presumed innocence that he has."

Police helped Pell through a 100-strong crush of national and international media as he walked the 100 metres between his barrister's office and the court's main entrance for the brief filing hearing.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton in July said police would consider taking Pell through an underground door to the court complex next time.

The former Sydney and Melbourne archbishop and Ballarat priest has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to return to Australia to defend himself.

News Corp Australia

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