Vatican treasurer Cardinal Pell faces final week of historical abuse hearing

Cardinal George Pell leaves the Victorian Magistrates Court in Melbourne on March 5, 2018.

Melbourne, Australia (CNN)Cardinal George Pell is set for a tense wait for a decision over whether an abuse case against him will proceed to full criminal trial in Australia when the committal hearing against him wraps up this week.

The Vatican treasurer is the most senior figure in the Holy See to ever face criminal charges, and the past three weeks of evidence has revealed details of multiple allegations of historical sexual abuse.
The 76-year-old Cardinal, who stood aside from his senior post in Rome when he was charged in June last year, will not hear a final decision from the magistrate on whether the case will proceed to trial for up to two weeks, possibly longer. He has strenuously denied all charges.
This week the remaining 50 witnesses will give testimony at Melbourne Magistrates Court where the case against Pell has been heard since early March.
    When the hearing closes Thursday, submissions will be made by both Pell's defense team and the prosecution for the magistrate to assess.

    Protesters and supporters outside court

    Pell has attended Melbourne Magistrates Court every day often accompanied by friend and adviser Katrina Lee, from the Archdiocese of Sydney.
    For the first five days of the hearing, the court was closed to the public and the media as it heard video-link evidence from his accusers.
    A handful of both protesters and supporters, some holding placards, have greeted Pell on the steps of the court each day. He strongly denies all the allegations against him.
    Police and security guards have kept the Cardinal a safe distance from onlookers.
    In Australia, a committal hearing operates in a similar way to a grand jury hearing in the US, except here the defense team can test the prosecution evidence.
    When it concludes, the magistrate will then make a decision about whether the case should proceed to a full trial at a higher court.
    Cardinal George Pell in a Melboune court Monday, March 5.