Tears in sex case
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.