Magistrate warns public over naming

A MAGISTRATE has issued a stern warning about publicly identifying a defrocked priest facing more than 130 historic sex offences.

The 60-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reasons, appeared in Armidale Local Court where his case was adjourned again.

Magistrate Karen Stafford told the gallery, which included a number of court watchers and members of the media, that despite the significant interest in the case there was a non-publication order in place for a reason.

“Putting things on the internet ... including his name, identity or residential address ... there are significant penalties,” she warned the court.

The court was told the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was still considering 137 sexual assault charges against the former priest dating back more than four decades.

The DPP applied for further time to allow it to consider detailed documents from the defence in relation to the historic offences.

But Magistrate Stafford questioned the delays, telling the DPP she wanted “some realistic” timeframes.

“It’s not concrete enough,” she said of a four-week adjournment request.

“I need some solid information next time.”

The case was due in court yesterday to fix a hearing or committal date which could see witnesses called to give evidence, depending on the outcome of negotiations between both sides.

The accused’s solicitor, Glen Kee, said he “had no knowledge” about the delays but that his documents sent to the DPP were lengthy.

“The submissions that we made were quite detailed,” Mr Kee told the court.

But he added it would be “beneficial” for the matter to be put over.

“It may significantly reduce the time in this court and another place,” he said.

Strike Force Glenroe was set up in 2012 to investigate claims of alleged sexual abuse before the man was charged with a string of offences.

The 60-year-old, who remains on bail, is alleged to have committed offences against boys and girls in Moree and Armidale in the 1970s and early ’80s.

The case has been adjourned to March 19.

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