George Pell sex offences 'impossible', his lawyer tells court

Many details concerning the allegations against Cardinal Pell can not be reported for legal reasons but they involve "multiple complainants".

Police helped Cardinal Pell through a 100-strong crush of national and global media as he walked the 100 metres between his barrister's office and the court's main entrance for the brief filing hearing.

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's financial chief who has been accused with paedophilia, will face an Australian court in March 2018 on charges of historic sexual assault, judicial sources said on Friday.

The witnesses will give evidence and will be cross-examined during a month-long committal hearing scheduled to take place from March 5 next year.

Lawyers for the 76-year-old said he would fight the charges, saying at least one of the accusations would have been impossible.

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One of the most senior figures in the Vatican, Pell appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court earlier on Friday after he was charged by detectives from Victoria Police in June, reports CNN.

Pell, who was suspended from his duties as Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Economy by Pope Francis so that he could stand trial in Australia, has denied the accusations on several occasions. "We want to demonstrate that what was alleged was impossible", he told the court. The court heard the prosecution's brief of evidence was "voluminous".

Dozens of witnesses, including former choirboys, will be called during a preliminary hearing that prosecutors estimate will last four weeks.

Cardinal Pell sat in court flanked by two women including spokeswoman Katrina Lee.

He will plead not guilty to all charges, his high-profile barrister Robert Richter QC told the cardinal's first court appearance on July 26. He did not react as he made his way down the steps.

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