Cardinal Pell appears in court

In case you didn’t catch one of the photos caught by the seemingly endless array of cameras outside Melbourne’s Magistrate Court, Cardinal George Pell appeared in court today for the first hearing in the case against him.

It was a largely procedural matter, dealt with in about six minutes (which was, incidentally, the average amount of time some news outlets dedicated to the hearing during their hourly bulletins.) 

Cardinal Pell did not have to appear in person, because such hearings are usually dealt with by the lawyers.  But he showed up, facing a media scrum which looked like this:

Image credit: Mark Stewart

Videos from his brief walk into court showed the intensity of the surrounding media, and it was reported that one international news outlet alone had sent 12 journalists and photographers to cover the short appearance.

Despite it being reported that “court officials said no special arrangements, apart from increased security, had been made for the cardinal,” a lane of traffic on a main road during morning peak hour was closed off so photographers could stand on the footpath, and an “overflow courtroom” was set up and a video stream of the hearing provided to that room in order to accommodate reporters.

If reported accurately, it seems that what the court officials said was correct.  Special arrangements did not appear to be made for Cardinal Pell, but rather for the waiting media.

In addition to not being required to appear, Cardinal Pell was also not required – at this time – to enter a plea.  But his barrister stood up and said: “For the avoidance of doubt and because of the interest, I might indicate that Cardinal Pell pleads not guilty to all charges and will maintain the presumed innocence that he has.”

The next court date has been set for Friday, 6 October.  The type of proceeding is known as a “committal mention,” which the Victorian Magistrates Court describes as:

A preliminary hearing prior to the full committal hearing. Permission to cross-examine witnesses may be given, matters in dispute will be discussed and a date for the committal hearing can be set at this stage. The Court may also hear and determine some charges if the accused pleads guilty.

We will likely not hear anything else on this case until after that date.

Monica Doumit, catholicTalk editor



A number of people are wanting to know where they can contribute to assist Cardinal George Pell with his defence costs. The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has not established nor is it managing a fund to assist Cardinal Pell.  However, there is a fund where people may contribute if they so wish

Funds can be deposited into:

Ferdinand Zito and Associates Law Practice Trust Account
Bendigo Bank
BSB: 633-000
Acct No: 1359-51192
Ref Code: LFGP

If you would like to request acknowledgement of the receipt of funds please email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 10:29 Written by 


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in CathTalk blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of all members of that of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.