Judge rules against naming man on 59 abuse charges

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 11:30 14/11/2012

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The name of the 64-year-old Marlborough man facing almost 60 charges of drugging and sexually abusing girls during the past 27 years has been suppressed again by the court.

Judge Stephen Harrop released his reserved decision last week on the name suppression after a hearing at Blenheim District Court on October 16.

The ruling to continue name suppression was made on the basis the man could face more than one trial and releasing his name could prejudice a jury, the decision says.

"If [the man's] name were published now in connection with all of the charges, then the jury considering the first trial may become aware of other allegations . . . at one or more later trials," Judge Harrop said in his decision.

Police were still investigating and the man could face more charges, he said.

There may be grounds to apply for severance, which means splitting the charges into more than one trial.

"I am in no doubt that the interim order for suppression . . . must continue at least until an indictment is filed covering all of the charges."

At the hearing, defence lawyer Rob Harrison said making the man's name public would create a real risk of prejudice to a fair trial. He had not yet received the full extent of police information and did not know whether he would be applying for separate trials on the charges.

Police were reserving their right to challenge continued name suppression when they knew whether a severance application would be granted, Judge Harrop said.

The man, who was arrested on August 26, faces 59 charges of serious sexual offences against nine complainants, all of whom are or were teenage girls at the time of the incidents, Judge Harrop said.

One of the charges relates to an incident in 1985, while the other charges range from 1993 to this year.

The charges include sexual violation, unlawful sexual connection, indecent assault and meeting a girl with intent to commit a crime.

Some women who had made similar complaints against the man had not yet been fully interviewed by police. The man is also charged with supplying drugs and unlawful possession of ammunition.

He is remanded in custody and is to reappear in Blenheim District Court on December 10.

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- The Marlborough Express

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