Cardinal Pell denies abuse charges in Australian court: reports

Cardinal George Pell arrives under heavy police protection for a filing hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 26, 2017.
Cardinal George Pell arrives under heavy police protection for a filing hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 26, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell insisted on his innocence on Wednesday (July 26) at a court hearing into historical sex abuse charges, his lawyer 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," lawyer Robert Richter told the Melbourne Magistrates Court in comments reported by The Age newspaper.

The 76-year-old, a top adviser to Pope Francis, returned from Rome earlier this month to face multiple charges relating to offences allegedly committed decades ago, when he was a senior cleric in Australia.