The number of rape or indecency charges laid against Blackball man William Ward Oquist numbered 24 when he appeared in the Greymouth District Court yesterday for a post-committal conference.

The 59-year-old is alleged to have committed offences against two girls younger than 12 years, between 1991 and 2004.

Oquist has pleaded not guilty and elected trial by jury on four counts of rape, eight each of indecent assault and unlawful sexual connection, and four of inducing indecent acts.

Media were excluded from the conference yesterday, which was to deal with administrative issues.