Operational update for media 5 March 2018

Committal in the matter of Christopher Reed v George Pell

Court arrangements

A committal in the matter of Christopher Reed v George Pell started at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, 233 William Street, on Monday, 5 March.

It is expected to run for up to four weeks.

The matter is being heard by Magistrate Belinda Wallington, who is the Supervising Magistrate for Sexual Offences.

The court is currently closed to media and the public. It is not expected to re-open until 19 March, but the MCV media team will endeavor to provide as much notice as possible.

One seat per media outlet has been reserved in the courtroom for those reporters who have already registered. Please contact the media team on media@magistratescourt.vic.gov.au to confirm your seat, if you have not already spoken to Sharon or Gillian.

Any reporters without a reserved seat are advised to arrive early if they wish to try to obtain a seat in the public gallery.  

Public interest in this matter is expected to be high and, as seating in the courtroom is limited, the proceedings (when open) will be streamed via video link into court 20 for those who cannot be accommodated in court 22.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court building opens at 8.30am.

All persons entering the court building are subject to conditions of entry including security screening. Please allow ample time to clear security.

Request by non-parties for inspection of court documents

Journalists can apply to access documents before the court, including charges, summaries and statements. The release of any materials is at the discretion of the magistrate. One application form will be circulated among journalists on Monday morning for submission to the magistrate so individual forms won’t be needed. 

Suppression order

An order was made on 10 July 2017 prohibiting the publication or broadcast of certain information relating to this matter. Contact media@magistratescourt.vic.gov.au for further details.

Recordings and electronic devices

All journalists are reminded that any audio or video recording of court proceedings is prohibited. Mobile phones are not to be used to make or receive phone calls while in the courtroom.

Electronic devices are allowed for taking notes and filing stories, but these devices cannot be used if they disrupt the court in any way. No electronic device is to be used for instantaneous publication from the courtroom, such as live blogging or social media posts.

This includes court 20.

A copy of the court’s Electronic devices policy is available on this website.  


Photography or recording video on any device is prohibited inside the court building. Anyone detected trying to take photos may be removed. A copy of the court’s Conditions of entry policy is attached.

Please note: Access to the landing on the corner of Lonsdale and William streets will be blocked for safety reasons while the parties are entering and exiting the building each day. 

Court artist

A court artist has been engaged to provide an in-court sketch of Cardinal Pell on the first day of the committal. If any media outlets would like to access his work, please contact Tom Kelly at 

Nine News, tkelly@nine.com.au or phone 03 9420 3253.


Media rooms

Two rooms for media use on the first day of the committal have been allocated on level 5 of the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court building. The rooms are to the right of court 22 and will have signage. These are in addition to the court’s permanent media room on level 6.

Media room arrangements for the second half of the committal will be advised closer to the date.


Media contacts

For any queries, please contact Sharon Rainsbury, MCV’s Strategic Communications Manager, or Gillian Bourke (Communications Officer) on 03 9032 0919 or Sharon’s mobile 0419 727 752.