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'Lambs to the slaughter': Lawyer fears George Pell's accusers could have their allegations 'watered down' without their knowledge

  • Lawyer fears George Pell could have charges 'watered down' by prosecutors
  • Ingrid Irwin represents some victims accusing Cardinal Pell of abuse
  • She says if backroom deals cut it could make people 'lambs to the slaughter'

The lawyer representing some of the alleged victims against Cardinal George Pell fears backroom deals could be done which see charges 'watered down' without their knowledge.

Ingrid Irwin, a Victorian lawyer representing some people accusing the Cardinal of abuse, believes complainants may face becoming 'lambs to the slaughter' if the crown and police cut deals during the trial.

'They are coming in as naive players into a sophisticated legal game…The complainants don't ever really know what is happening, they're just coming in there with their truth,' Ms Irwin told Nine News.

The lawyer representing sex victims against Cardinal George Pell fears backroom deals could see charges 'watered down' without their knowledge

The lawyer representing sex victims against Cardinal George Pell fears backroom deals could see charges 'watered down' without their knowledge

Ingrid Irwin, a Victorian lawyer representing people accusing the Cardinal of abuse, believes complainants face becoming 'lambs to the slaughter' if the crown and police cut deals during the trial

Ingrid Irwin, a Victorian lawyer representing people accusing the Cardinal of abuse, believes complainants face becoming 'lambs to the slaughter' if the crown and police cut deals during the trial

Ms Irwin said sexual abuse complainants often are completely removed from the legal process, making them 'naive players into a sophisticated legal game.'

She predicts the case will be a drawn-out trial and each individual accuser may fight for separate trials.

However, some senior lawyers are concerned the Cardinal could be adversely affected by juror perceptions of him and the Catholic Church, and have said a judge-alone trial may be appropriate.

QCs Peter Chadwick and Remy van de Weil, who are not connected to the case, have questioned whether a jury can remain impartial during Pell's trial, the Courier Mail reported.

'There's been an awful lot of publicity, a lot of discussion and it's a good argument for a judge-alone trial, said Mr Chadwick.

However, Pell's seniors lawyers are concerned the Cardinal could be adversely affected by juror perceptions of him and the Catholic Church, and are arguing for a judge-alone trial

However, Pell's seniors lawyers are concerned the Cardinal could be adversely affected by juror perceptions of him and the Catholic Church, and are arguing for a judge-alone trial

He and Mr van de Weil are calling for Victoria to follow NSW, Queensland, and Western Australia in allowing high-profile defendants to have judge-only trials.

Cardinal Pell is back in Australia after being charged with multiple historical sex charges.

The former Archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne has vehemently denied the allegations, saying that he is looking forward to his day in court.

'I'm innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me,' he said in a press conference.

'Court proceedings now offer me an opportunity to clear my name and then return here back to Rome to work.'

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