Man named in sex case

A MAGISTRATE has lifted a suppression order covering the identity of a local man accused of a dozen historic sexual assaults.

Gregory Dean Phoo is facing 12 charges stemming from the alleged assaults of four young girls between 35 and 38 years ago.

Tamworth Local Court was this week told the assaults allegedly occurred in Sydney and Tamworth.

Defence barrister Bruce Donnelly argued an interim non-publication order on the man’s identity, issued when the matter first came to court in June, was needed to prevent “undue distress or embarrassment,” to all involved in the case.

But on Tuesday, Magistrate Michael Holmes revoked the interim order and said it was in the public interest for the accused to be named.

“The court believes no order is necessary,” he told the court.

“There is embarrassment to accused persons appearing before the court.”

It came after the Crown opposed the continuation of the non-publication direction.

Crown prosecutor Mark Ferguson argued there was no need for an order on the identity of the accused.

“Publication of his name will not identify any of the victims,” he told the court. “This is purely about protecting the accused.”

Mr Donnelly has previously told the court the allegations are denied but they should not be out in the public arena.

The charges include sexual intercourse with a child under 10 years, carnal knowledge of a girl under 10, committing an act of indecency against a female under 16 and sexual assault or indecent acts with a child under 16.

On the last occasion, Mr Donnelly argued the publication of the details of the case could have dramatic effects on those involved in the case and the suppression order was needed to prevent prejudice.

This was rejected by Mr Ferguson.

“This accused is in no way any different to any other accused,” he said this week.

“The only embarrassment would accrue to the accused.” 

Police investigation of the case commenced in  April 2013 before  culminating in charges being laid  earlier this year.

A brief of evidence is being compiled, with a crown prosecutor to examine the case before it returns to court in August.

An order remains covering the identity of the victims.

Phoo remains on bail.

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