Pell dodges charges because alleged victim too sick to show
SEVERAL historical sex offence charges against Cardinal George Pell will be withdrawn because a complainant is unable to testify at a hearing that will determine if Australia's highest ranked Catholic stands trial.
Pell is facing a pre-trial committal hearing at Melbourne Magistrates Court, which wrapped up its third week on Friday.
At the end of Friday's hearing, prosecutor Mark Gibson SC said one of the complainants will not give evidence because he is "medically unfit". Pell's lawyer immediately requested the charges be removed from the committal proceedings.
"I ask that these charges be struck out," Robert Richter QC said. Mr Gibson said the prosecution will formally withdraw the charges when the hearing resumes on Tuesday.
Pell, 76, has been charged with multiple historical sex offences involving multiple complainants.
The court has not released details of the charges.
Earlier on Friday, a woman said her brother was crying when he told her Pell allegedly committed a sex offence against him.
The woman, who can't be named for legal reasons, said she and her brother were on their way home from a birthday party when he turned towards her and said "you don't know what happened to me".
"And then he said 'it was George Pell'," she told the court via video link.
Mr Richter suggested the pair were drunk at the time of the conversation, which took place about 16 years after the alleged sex offence.
"He was crying, wasn't he?" Mr Richter asked.
"He was," the woman answered.
"And he was muttering against his tears?" Mr Richter said.
"Not muttering, he was speaking clearly," the woman replied. She tried to ask him for more information, but her brother "shut down", the woman told the court.
"When I said 'who?' he said 'f***ing George Pell'. Those were his exact words," the woman said.
"He didn't really want to say much more." The hearing before magistrate Belinda Wallington will resume on Tuesday.