Child sex accused dies

GREG TOURELLE
Last updated 22:41 08/05/2012

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A youth worker with New Zealand and Australian citizenship has died in Canberra, just weeks after being released on bail on a charge of molesting a 12-year-old boy.

Michael David Watt was due to appear in court tomorrow on a string of child molestation charges.

ACT Magistrates Court was told earlier that Watt had been under investigation in New Zealand for similar offences - although there was no evidence he was charged.

New Zealand police couldn't confirm today whether he had been under investigation here.

The mother of the boy Watt was accused of abusing says she is ready to move on and try to reclaim some of her son's lost innocence, the Canberra Times reported.

She says she is relieved her son will not have to endure cross-examination in a criminal trial.

''It's a hard thing to go through, I just want to regroup our little family and go forward,'' the woman said.
Watt, 25, was released on bail from the ACT Magistrates Court on April 18.

He was pronounced dead at his home last Wednesday night, according to a statement of life extinct tendered in court yesterday.

The circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear, but ACT Policing say they are not treating it as suspicious.

Watt had been due to face court again tomorrow over allegations he abused the boy, who was in the care of child protection authorities.

The accused man had been employed as a youth worker at the time of the offences, working with vulnerable children, but the court has suppressed the name of his then-employer.

The allegations came to light in February after the boy came forward and Watt was arrested in April, charged with offences including having sexual intercourse with a child younger than 16, committing acts of indecency on a child younger than 16 and using electronic means to deprave a child.

At the time of his death, Watt had yet to enter pleas to the charges.

Detective Sergeant Tony Crocker said at his last court appearance police were concerned Watt might have been planning a child sex tourism trip to the Philippines.

But Magistrate David Mossop agreed to grant bail on strict conditions, warning Watt to make ''absolutely every effort'' to comply.

The matter was back before the same magistrate yesterday afternoon, when the office of the Director of Prosecutions sought an order of abatement - putting an end to the criminal proceedings.

Mr Mossop is expected to make the order this morning.

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- Fairfax Media

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