Week one of George Pell's hearing over

March 09, 2018

Week one of Cardinal George Pell's month-long pre-trial hearing has come to an end (file).

Several people have given evidence against Cardinal George Pell during week one of a month-long hearing that will determine if he will stand trial over historical sex offence charges.

The 76-year-old returned to Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday to resume a committal hearing after it was adjourned mid-week.

It's understood the hearing was adjourned on Wednesday because a witness was not available.

Except for a short time when the hearing began on Monday, the court has been closed to media and the public while his accusers give evidence from a remote facility, as required by law in sexual offence matters.

The court will remain closed for week two as complainants continue to give evidence in the pre-trial hearing.

It's expected the hearing will be open to the public and the media thereafter.

Up to 50 people will be called as witnesses during the committal stage.

At the end of the four-week hearing, magistrate Belinda Wallington will decide if Pell, who denies the charges, should stand trial.

He faces multiple historical sex offence charges involving multiple complainants.

Pell has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to fight the charges.

Pell was charged on summons in June 2017 while he was in Rome, and returned to Australia to face court.

At the beginning of his hearing on Monday, defence barrister Robert Richter QC accused Victorian police of failing to follow guidelines for investigating prominent people because of a "presumption of guilt" against the cardinal.

Pell and his legal team will return to court on Tuesday.

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