252 child sexual assault charges

FORMER St John of God brother Bernard McGrath will face an extradition hearing in April in relation to child sex offences allegedly committed in the Hunter.

The Australian government is seeking Mr McGrath’s extradition from New Zealand so he can answer 252 child sexual assault charges that relate to his time as a Catholic brother in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr McGrath, 65, who faced a New Zealand court today, is accused of raping, molesting and abusing dozens of boys in the Hunter Region.

He voluntarily returned to New Zealand from Sri Lanka last year after learning about the charges, but has indicated that he will fight the extradition in the Christchurch District Court.

His lawyer told the court that April 12 had been agreed with the Australian government’s representatives for the hearing.

Mr McGrath’s bail was continued.

He continues to reside with his sister in Christchurch.

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