Cardinal Pell's defense calls for historical abuse charges to be dropped

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

Melbourne (CNN)The lead barrister defending senior Vatican official Cardinal George Pell against historical abuse charges has argued for the case to be dropped because a trial would be a "waste of public money, time and effort."

Robert Richter QC made the arguments at a court in Melbourne Tuesday, on the final day of submissions before Magistrate Belinda Wallington.
Wallington will announce on May 1 whether the case will proceed to trial, after weeks of testimony from accusers and witnesses to the alleged abuse.
Pell, 76, was charged last June and given leave by Pope Francis from the Vatican to contest the charges in his native country. Pell vigorously denies all allegations.
    Cardinal George Pell in a Melboune court Monday, March 5.

    'Attempt to destroy' his reputation

    Tuesday gave both prosecution and defense a final chance to convince the magistrate why the case should or should not go to trial.
    Defense attorney Richter attacked the credibility of Pell's accusers saying; "Whether they are the product of fantasy or mental problems ... or just pure invention ... it's in order to punish the representative of the Catholic Church in this country [Australia] for not stopping abuse by others."
    Richter argued the fact that Pell did not seek diplomatic immunity in the Vatican, and answered all police questions willingly, helped show his innocence.
    CNN revealed exclusively in January Pell has been staying at a seminary in Sydney during the case. He was excused from appearing Tuesday but will attend for the final decision in two weeks.