Man accused of using teens as 'sex slaves' may not stand trial

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

An elderly man accused of using teenage girls as "sex slaves" should know in a few weeks whether he will escape penalty.

He has reportedly developed mild dementia and may be found unfit to stand trial. Defence and Crown lawyers have each obtained psychiatric and psychologist reports.

The 79-year-old North Island man has not entered pleas to the 22 counts he faces, including abduction and multiple rapes.

First charged more than two years ago, he is seeking permanent name suppression. His next court appearance is set down for mid-June.

Suppression orders surround the case, which involves four complainants.

The first went to police in September 2008. She was aged 19 when she was allegedly lured to a remote hut and kept there for five months.

Charges laid in December 2009 included four of rape, plus one each of abduction and unlawful sexual connection.

The following year, after other women came forward, eight further charges were added.

Of the eventual 22 counts, one is a representative charge covering hundreds of rapes.

So far the man has been subject to 27 court hearings in 28 months.

Sensible Sentencing Trust national spokesman Garth McVicar has roundly criticised the possibility that the accused could walk free because of the onset of "mild dementia."

He said the public was entitled to know the man's name.

New Zealand now had a criminal centred, offender friendly legal process and the justice system was in serious trouble, Mr McVicar said today.

- APNZ

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