Kaitaia sex accused named

A 41-year-old Kaitaia man charged with indecencies on a girl has lost name suppression.

Dean Shawn Gardner faces 10 counts of indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 12 and one each of inducing a girl under 12 to perform an indecent act and attempting to induce a girl under 12 to perform an indecent act has lost his name suppression.

In the Kaitaia District Court last week Judge Greg Davis remanded Gardner, without plea, on bail to appear again on March 14.

Bail conditions included that he comply with a 24-hour curfew at a specified address outside Kaitaia unless in a medical emergency or to meet with counsel and accompanied, that he not enter Kaitaia or Awanui.

He is not permitted to be in the company of any person under the age of 17 other than his children, who must be in the company of his mother or wife.

Other bail conditions include that he have no access to the internet or any internet-capable device, that he not contact the complainant, her family or witnesses as specified by the police, that he surrender his passport and that he not obtain any other travel documents.

Judge Davis warned Gardner that any breaches of those conditions could see him returned to custody immediately.

Much of the two-hour hearing was devoted to considering, and approving, a request from Maori Television for the right to film in the court and the continuation of name suppression, Judge Davis ruling that it was in the public interest to lift suppression.

Counsel Catherine Cull indicated to the court that decision would not be appealed.

The removal of name suppression was opposed by Ms Cull, on instructions, but supported by the police and the victim.

Ms Cull produced a letter from a GP which the court heard stated that identifying the accused could impact upon his health and that of one of his children and his father.

Police prosecutor Duncan Coleman argued that it was in the public interest for the process to be open to the public in its entirety.

In a small town like Kaitaia the identity of the accused would inevitably become the subject of rumour and speculation, an outcome that the court should seek to avoid, he said.

Ms Cull noted that her client had no criminal history and had not come to attention for more than a decade since the time of the current allegations.

The charges relate to one complainant, who was aged five to seven years at the time of the alleged offending, 2000-2002.

Ms Cull said she believed that the charges would come down to a question of credibility, adding that the accused was entitled to the benefit of the doubt until then.

She urged the court to not make comparisons between her client and "other local matters" that were currently going on.

- Northland Age

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