A WITNESS believes George Pell would not have been able to remove the ceremonial robes he was wearing on the day he is accused of committing a sex offence.
CARDINAL George Pell would have been restricted by the ceremonial robes he was wearing on the day he is accused of committing a sex offence, a court has been told.
A witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also said he did not believe the alleged incident occurred based on his knowledge of a church’s layout.
Pell, 76, has been charged with multiple historical sex offences, which he is fighting at a committal hearing before Melbourne Magistrates Court that will determine if he stands trial.
A parish staff member on Thursday said the ceremonial robes worn by Pell at the time of an alleged offence were heavy and consisted of multiple layers.
“If we take the entirety of what he is wearing, which you have described in your statement, it was a significant number of items, correct? Heavy?” defence barrister Ruth Shann said during cross-examination.
“Yes,” the man replied.
“Unable to be manoeuvred easily?” Ms Shann asked.
“I would say so,” he replied.
“Requiring people to help robe and disrobe?” she continued.
“Absolutely,” the witness said.
When asked by Ms Shann whether the robes could be parted on the side or the middle, the man said they could not.
The man, who was also a choir member, told the hearing he had extensive experience with church robes after helping various clergy prepare for mass and other ceremonies.
The parish staff member previously told police he and other staff were always present at the time the alleged sex offences were to have taken place.
“I can’t understand, knowing the layout and how things work, how they occurred,” he told police in June 2017, before Pell was charged.
“From your perspective, it’s just not possible?” Ms Shann asked on Thursday.
“I don’t believe so,” the witness said.
Pell has been charged with multiple historical sex offences involving multiple complainants.
The court has not released details about the charges.
But the defence has cross-examined witnesses about their interactions with Pell at a swimming pool, cinema, and a lake in rural Victoria, and other locations.
The pre-trial hearing before magistrate Belinda Wallington will resume on Friday.
H/t reader kevin a.