Arthur Allan Thomas, the man pardoned of the infamous 1970 Crewe murders, has been charged with historical sexual offending.

The 81-year-old's case was called today in the Manukau District Court where Judge Charles Blackie ordered his interim name suppression to lapse.

Thomas faces four charges of indecent assault and one count of rape.

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The allegations are historical in nature and relate to two complainants, who have automatic name suppression, and recently came forward to police.

Extensive suppression orders, however, remain and prevent the Herald from publishing further details, such as the date and place of the alleged offending.

Thomas is on bail and did not appear in court today in person. He first appeared in court on November 28 and pleaded not guilty to all five charges.

He is next due to appear in court during March.

Thomas' defence is being led by well-known Auckland lawyer Marie Dyhrberg QC, while Aaron Perkins QC is prosecuting the case for the police.

Thomas was convicted of the murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe, who were shot dead in their Pukekawa farmhouse in June 1970, and dumped in the Waikato River.

He was found guilty of the killings in 1971 and again at a retrial in 1973.

Harvey and Jeanette Crewe. Photo / File
Harvey and Jeanette Crewe. Photo / File

But in 1979, after he had spent nine years in prison, he was granted a pardon after an investigation was ordered by then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.

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A 1980 Royal Commission of Inquiry found that a cartridge case in the Crewe's garden - said to have come from a rifle belonging to Thomas - was planted at the scene by detectives.

Thomas was granted a royal pardon and awarded $950,000 in compensation.

In 2010, the Crewes' only child, Rochelle, asked police to reopen the homicide investigation in a bid to find her parents' killer.

She was 18 months old when they died and was found crying in her cot five days after they were last seen alive.

Arthur Thomas was convicted and later pardoned of the murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe at their Pukekawa farm June 1970. Photo / File
Arthur Thomas was convicted and later pardoned of the murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe at their Pukekawa farm June 1970. Photo / File

The request led to a police review of the murders, which was overseen by independent counsel David Jones QC.

It also saw Thomas and his family re-interviewed by police in 2013.

The review was released in July 2014, with Jones concluding the cartridge was false evidence "beyond reasonable doubt".

The police officer accused of planting a cartridge case, Inspector Bruce Hutton, went to his grave denying he framed Thomas.

Hutton also refused to accept any concerns about the evidence in the two trials.

The Crewe murders remain unsolved, while Thomas has never received a formal apology from the government or police.

Arthur Thomas, pictured at the Royal Commission of Inquiry in 1980. Photo / File
Arthur Thomas, pictured at the Royal Commission of Inquiry in 1980. Photo / File