No plea on sex charges

A 27-year-old unemployed man entered no plea when he appeared yesterday in the Oamaru District Court on 41 charges, including sexual violation and indecent assault, after investigations by police into an alleged paedophile ring.

The charges date to May last year and some involved his son, aged 13 months at the time. The former Oamaru man was identified and the charges resulted from a national investigation by police.

Yesterday, Judge Joanna Maze remanded the man to appear in Oamaru on April 17, but no earlier than March 29, for a post-committal conference.

He was granted continued interim name suppression after a hearing in chambers, to continue until his first appearance before a judge at a post-committal hearing, when it could be reviewed.

Judge Maze granted a change to his bail, altering a condition that he not come to Oamaru, where the alleged offences took place, to allow him to travel by the most direct route to attend court or instruct counsel in Oamaru.

An application to film the man in court yesterday made by TVNZ was declined by Judge Maze after a hearing in chambers.

The man faces eight charges of indecent assault, three of unlawful sexual connection, 20 of making objectionable images and 10 of distributing an objectionable publication, between May 10 and July 18.

Counsel Michael de Buyzer and police opposed both lifting the interim suppression order preventing publication of his name at this stage.

One reason was identifying the defendant would lead to identifying the child victim, now 22 months old, and his mother.

During the hearing, the defendant sat quietly and showed no emotion.