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George Pell Arrives Back In Australia

Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell has returned to Australia as he prepares to defend himself against historical sexual assault charges.Pell was spotted during a stopover in Singapore on the weekend and arrived in Sydney this morning.Victoria Police on June 30 charged the cardinal, a former Melbourne and Sydney archbishop and Ballarat priest, with multiple sex offences.At a press conference in Rome late last month, Pell said he was looking forward to “finally” having his day in court to fight the “false” charges, which he said were the result of a two-year investigation fraught with problems like media leaks and “relentless character assassination”.The cardinal, a top adviser to Pope Francis, has taken a leave of absence as the Vatican’s financial chief to fight the charges.A video obtained by 9News shows the 76-year-old looking relaxed in casual attire as he sits with a friend outside an ice cream shop in the island state.Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, Pell is due to face Melbourne’s Magistrates Court on July 26 for a filing hearing over the charges.Pell has declared his innocence and said he would return to Australia to clear his name.Another passenger on the flight from Singapore said Cardinal Pell was met by two police officers when he disembarked in Sydney.The “process and procedures” being followed had been the same as those applied “in a whole range of historical sex offences, whenever we investigate them”, Patton reportedly said at the time.Cardinal George Pell landed in Sydney on Monday morning.Pell has strenuously denied allegations of historical sexual abuse, the details of which have not been made public.”Cardinal Pell will not be making further comment other than to say he is grateful for the numerous messages of support he continues to receive”.In 2016, Pell gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse from Rome via videolink, after saying he was too ill to travel to Australia.