News National Prosecutors withdraw one charge against Cardinal George Pell
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Prosecutors withdraw one charge against Cardinal George Pell

More than a dozen pages referencing Cardinal George Pell were redacted in an apparent bid to avoid prejudicing his trial over historic allegations of child sex abuse.
Cardinal Pell is set to face a four-week committal hearing in Melbourne on Monday. Photo: AAP
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One of the multiple historical sexual offence charges against Cardinal George Pell has been withdrawn because the accuser has died.

Cardinal Pell will face a hearing beginning on Monday to determine if he stands trial on charges involving multiple complainants, which he denies.

Crown Prosecutor Mark Gibson SC on Friday told the Melbourne Magistrates Court one charge was being withdrawn.

The court has previously heard one of the complainants had died.

Magistrate Belinda Wallington on Friday ruled the defence could question one witness about the timing of allegations by others, but not the detail.

“There is no intention to trawl through detail of abuse at the hands of other clergy,” Ms Wallington said.

She said questions which did not delve into detail likely to cause distress would be allowed.

Cardinal Pell’s barrister Ruth Shann said at issue was the timing of complaints.

“The focus is about the timing, but relevant to that particular witness, it is also the timing of the two sets of allegations because of material that we are aware of which makes those people in those locations at that time, in essence, impossible,” Ms Shann said.

Cardinal Pell, the highest-ranking Catholic official to be charged with historical sexual offences, will face a four-week committal hearing in Melbourne on Monday.

The former Sydney and Melbourne archbishop and Ballarat priest has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to fight the charges.

-AAP