Sexual assault trial adjourned

The trial of a 66-year-old Marlborough man facing 53 sex-related charges has been adjourned before the jury was called.

The trial was due to begin in the High Court at Nelson this morning but Justice Simon France granted an adjournment in a hearing shortly before it was to start.

He suppressed the reasons for the adjournment.

The accused man was wearing casual clothes as he sat in court this morning. He has been granted name suppression until at least the end of the trial.

The High Court trial had been set down to start today, almost two years after the man was arrested in August 2012, and was expected to last three to four weeks.

Up to 50 people were expected to give evidence in the trial.It was not clear today when the trial would go ahead, but the man is due to appear again for a case review on August 25.

He was initially facing 127 charges, which crown prosecutor Mark O'Donoghue had reduced to 53 to go to trial.

They include allegations of rape, sexual grooming, indecent assault and making objectionable publications.

The alleged offending spans 29 years, between 1984 and 2012, and involves 10 complainants.

Most charges relate to alleged incidents in and around Blenheim as well as six near Kaikoura, and one in the lower North Island.

All details of the complainants named in the charges are permanently suppressed.

The charges have been dealt with numerous times in the Blenheim and Nelson courts since the man was arrested.

The Marlborough Express