Cardinal George Pell goes to trial for historic sex offence charge

Australia's highest ranking Catholic will go to trial on historic sexual offence charges, but the most serious charges against him have been thrown out.

The magistrate dismissed half the charges against 76-year old Cardinal George Pell, including some of the most serious.

Among the charges thrown out were allegations the cardinal committed an offence against a complainant over a 12 month period at a church, a cinema and another location.

However, Magistrate Belinda Wallington struck out the charge as well as an "unsatisfactory witness".

"His lack of recall was often a non-responsive way of avoiding answering questions," she told the court.

The allegations of sexual offending occurred from the 1970s to 1990s.

The nature of the charges are yet to be revealed. 

Cardinal Pell's defence team is led by Robert Richter QC who says the Cardinal's accusers were motivated by a desire to "push" the Catholic church.

Pell was granted bail and is not allowed to leave Australia.


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