|Vatican Treasurer Cardinal Pell surrounded by Australian police and media|
Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis's top financial adviser, made his first appearance at a court in Melbourne, Australia, since he was charged with multiple historical sex offences last month.
Full details of the charges faced by the 76-year-old have not yet been released to the public but there are multiple complainants in the case.
The Cardinal, Australia's highest-ranking Catholic, did not say anything during his court appearance and, although no formal plea was entered, his lawyer told the court that he planned to plead not guilty.
"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 court in comments reported by The Age newspaper.
|The Cardinal is Australia's highest-ranking Catholic official|
He had not been required to attend the hearing.
Pell took a leave of absence from his role at the Vatican so he could return to Australia and fight the charges against him.
The Pope has so far not passed judgement, saying that he wants to wait for Australia's justice process to run its course. He has also not forced Pell to resign.
Pell must reappear at court on 6 October.