Melbourne, March 5 (IANS) The victims of Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s financial chief who has been accused with paedophilia and numerous other historical sexual offences, will testify in court for the first time this week, authorities said on Monday.
The cardinal, 76, arrived at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday accompanied by several police officers, reports CNN.
The first two weeks of this month’s committal are expected to hear solely from the accusers in a closed court.
The remaining two weeks will be dedicated to the cross-examination of at least 40 other witnesses.
Cardinal Pell is required to attend the court each day of the four-week long committal hearing.
He stood down from his post as Vatican treasurer in June last year to fight the case in his home country of Australia after being charged by Victoria state police.
Cardinal Pell strongly denies all the allegations against him, and his criminal defence lawyer, Robert Richter has already informed the court he will officially be pleading not guilty.
The accusers will give evidence by videolink from a remote location, CNN reported.
They will be cross-examined by Richter, who is well known in Australia for his lengthy and forensic questioning of witnesses.
The trial is the first time such a senior figure in the Holy See has faced criminal charges.