Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Extradition of Catholic brother to be challenged in court

Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo / NZ Herald
Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo / NZ Herald

A decision by Justice Minister Judith Collins to approve the extradition of a former Catholic brother to Australia to face child-sex charges will be challenged in court later this year.

Bernard Kevin McGrath, 66, has filed judicial review proceedings challenging the minister's decision and will be heard at the High Court in Christchurch on December 1.

Australia has spent almost two years trying to extradite McGrath to face 252 child-sex abuse charges.

Early last year, Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish ruled McGrath should stand trial across the Tasman.

But her decision was appealed to the High Court, which then referred the case back to Judge Farish, ruling she needed to again look at whether the case should be referred to the Minister of Justice for a final decision on extradition.

In January, Judge Farish referred the decision to Ms Collins, saying she was satisfied there were "compelling and extraordinary circumstances" for the decision to be made by the minister.

This week, after "careful consideration", Ms Collins issued an order for McGrath's surrender to Australia.

He will now challenge that decision in the High Court.

Both sides could still appeal that decision, depending on the outcome.

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