Sex accused labelled a flight risk

A Kaitaia businessman facing multiple sex charges against young boys was preparing to leave for Australia when he was arrested after learning of the police investigation, a court has heard.

Daniel Luke Taylor, 37, was denied bail and remanded in custody this morning when he appeared before Judge Greg Davis in the Kaitaia District Court.

He faces 19 charges of indecent assaults on boys aged under 12, 12-to-16 and 16 years and over. One alternative charge of attempted unlawful sexual connection has also been laid. No pleas have yet been entered.

The judge said Taylor, who until recently was the vice-chairman of the Kaitaia Business Association, presented a "real and appreciable" risk of further offending if released from custody.

Bail was opposed by police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Brocas on the grounds that Taylor had apparently been making plans to leave for Australia prior to his arrest, after he became aware that his alleged offending was under investigation. Police said that suggested Taylor was a flight risk.

In dramatic scenes, Taylor collapsed in the dock during the bail application after spending an hour standing in the dock flanked by police officers. He was carried from the dock to the cells by three constables, the court adjourning while staff called an ambulance.

When the hearing resumed Taylor's lawyer David James said his client was receiving the treatment he needed, and that his condition was not believed to be serious.

Sergeant Brocas argued that Taylor had embarked upon a process of grooming young boys, to the point where last year he had been approved by Child Youth and Family as a caregiver. There could be a case for electronic bail, he added, but "if he's in custody we know where he is".

Police were also concerned that he would make contact with his alleged victims. Five victims were known to police while investigations were continuing into matters involving a sixth. Police argued there was potential for Taylor to continue offending if granted bail.

Four of the identified complainants opposed bail being granted, while police believed other complainants were more likely to come forward if Taylor was in custody.

Mr James mounted a lengthy rebuttal of the police bail opposition, arguing that the charges were moderately serious as opposed to very serious.

There seemed to be a culture in "this group" of touching each other in the manner described in the summary of facts, he said. There was no reason to suspect that Taylor would not answer bail or would attempt to influence witnesses.

However, the judge remanded Taylor in custody and ordered him to reappear on December 18.

- By Peter Jackson of The Northland Age

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