Lawyers for George Pell say the disgraced cardinal has a “strong, credible” alibi and could not possibly have abused two choirboys in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s.

Pell’s defence disputed the evidence of the sole surviving victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, saying Pell was with an “invisible friend” at the time of the alleged incident.

“I was with God at the time,” Pell told the courts.

Specialist appeals barrister Bret Walker SC, leader of Pell’s legal team, argued the victim’s claims were impossible given prosecution witnesses said Pell had been greeting parishioners at the time of the offending.

“God has said Pell was greeting parishioners at that time,” said Walker.

The case is expected to go to the High Court.