Tears in sex case

NT News - - NEWS - GREG ROBERTS

A MAN ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing his for­mer part­ner and her daugh­ter two decades ago is be­hind bars in Dar­win af­ter be­ing ex­tra­dited from New Zealand.

The 43-year-old New Zealan­der, who can­not legally be named, had re­fused to come back and be ques­tioned dur­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

NT po­lice have been try­ing to ex­tra­dite him for five years. His for­mer part­ner al­leges he raped her while she was heav­ily preg­nant and shortly be­fore she went into labour with their son, who has autism. She was hos­pi­talised soon af­ter, the Dar­win Lo­cal Court heard.

The woman’s daugh­ter and his then step-daugh­ter, who was un­der 16 at the time, also al­leges he had sex with her.

The ac­cused man wept at times dur­ing an ap­pear­ance in court on Fri­day wear­ing a shirt and jeans but no shoes.

His wife has also trav­elled from Te Kaha in New Zealand and was seen wip­ing away tears in court.

There were heated scenes when his lawyer John Lawrence made a long, im­pas­sioned and ini­tially suc­cess­ful bid for the ac­cused to be re­leased on bail de­spite him hav­ing to be ex­tra­dited to Aus­tralia.

Mr Lawrence was an­gered when NT Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions lawyer Ta­mara Gre­aly im­me­di­ately sig­nalled she would ap­peal that de­ci­sion in the Supreme Court, which meant the ac­cused would re­main bars un­til at least Wed­nes­day.

“What is the DPP’s rea­son for this? She should ar­tic­u­late to the com­mu­nity that she rep­re­sents what the rea­son is,” he said.

His client “stren­u­ously de­nies” the charges, he said, and any trial was more than a year away, mak­ing it wrong to lock him up in an over­crowded Dar­win jail dur­ing the hottest time of the year.

“This man is go­ing to get bail, I would bet my house on it,” Mr Lawrence said.

The cul­ture in the NT court sys­tem was that it was “all too ready” to let peo­ple “rot in pri­son”, he said.

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