The lawyer representing disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell insisted on Tuesday that he had not quit the cleric’s legal team, denying media reports of his resignation.
“I have not quit,” high profile barrister Robert Richter told AFP, adding that local media reports to the contrary were false. “I have not quit or left anything.”
Earlier Richter — who has an enviable record of courtroom victories — told The Age newspaper that he was too emotionally involved to continue to represent Pell.
The 77-year-old former Vatican number three is currently awaiting sentencing for a conviction of sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s.
Richter told The Age that Pell would be “better served by someone more detached” as he did not have “sufficient objectivity at this stage.”
“I think the man is an innocent man and he’s been convicted. It’s not a common experience.”
With the case heading for appeal, Richter had been expected to play a less public role in Pell’s legal defence.
Richter declined to comment further to AFP on his status in Pell’s defence team.
Pell, who become the most senior Catholic clergyman to be found guilty of child sex abuse when he was convicted in December, maintains his innocence.
Richter has been representing the Cardinal since the 2017.
But he has recently come under fire, issuing an apology last week after he angered abuse survivors by arguing that even if Pell had committed the crimes, they were no more than a “plain vanilla sexual penetration case”.