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Published: 11 January 2018
Author: Penny Savidis

Pell back in court days after accuser dies

On 6 January 2018, just two weeks shy of his 48th birthday, Damian Dignan lost his battle with leukemia and died at the Ballarat Health Services.

Damian was a former student at the St Alipius School in Ballarat who, along with former pupil Lyndon Monument, came forward in July last year with allegations that Cardinal George Pell had touched their genitals the Eureka pool in Ballarat in the 1970s: Victoria's top cop says sex abuse charges against George Pell still a possibility.

Dignan was reportedly one of the accusers in the case against Pell, who was charged in June 2017 with historical child sexual abuse. Pell is due to face a committal hearing on 5 March 2018, which will decide whether there is enough evidence to send him to the County Court or the Supreme Court for trial. Around 50 witnesses are expected to be called during the committal hearing, which is estimated to run for about four weeks: Up to 50 witnesses could be called for Cardinal George Pell's committal hearing.

Pell’s lawyers were in court again yesterday, just four days after Dignan’s passing, to discuss legal documents they have requested from the ABC, journalist Louise Milligan, Victoria Police and Broken Rites, an research and advocacy group established to assist survivors of church-related abuse: ABC footage, transcripts passed on to George Pell's defence team

But for Damian Dignan it will be too late to see the outcome of his efforts.