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Decision on Pell charges still "imminent"

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A month after getting legal advice on whether to charge Cardinal George Pell over historical child sex allegations, Victoria’s highest-ranking police officer says a decision is “imminent”.

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Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told ABC radio Cardinal Pell’s lawyers will be told first, once a decision is made whether to charge him.

“A decision is imminent,” Ashton told ABC today.

“There is a great deal of public interest in it (the George Pell case).

“We’ll get something out soon.”

Cardinal Pell voluntarily participated in an interview with Victorian police officers in Rome last October over alleged sexual assaults in Ballarat between 1976 and 1980 and in East Melbourne between 1996 and 2001. He has consistently maintained his innocence.

It’s the third time Ashton has promised an “imminent” decision on the allegations after police got advice from the state’s Director of Public Prosecutions on May 16.

On May 18, Ashton said the process wouldn’t take too long, and a decision would be reached within a few weeks.

A week later he told 3AW the decision was not too far off.

“The decision is imminent on that,” Ashton said on May 25.

On June 1 he described it as “fairly imminent”.

“These allegations are complex and there’s a lot in it in terms of the inquiries that have been made, the work that’s been done and the legal advice,” Ashton told reporters.

-AAP

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