DETECTIVES have laid extra charges against a man accused of sexually abusing two young children more than 40 years ago.
Geoffrey Croft was flanked by family members and seated in the back of Armidale Local Court when Magistrate Michael Holmes was told there were fresh offences before the court on Wednesday morning.
“I understand there is additional charges that have been laid,” DPP solicitor Clare Magni told the court.
Armidale detectives have charged the now 70-year-old with an extra count of rape and two counts of assaulting a female and committing an act of indecency.
The alleged offences occurred at Balala and Uralla between 1975 and 1980.
Armidale detectives allege Croft was supervising the children when the offences occurred, but they occurred at different times and are not related.
Croft is alleged to have indecently assaulted a young boy, aged approximately 12-years-old in the 1970s, and a 16-year-old girl in the 1970s.
Croft’s barrister Matthew Davis said the new charges “were provided to me this morning" and a senior counsel had been briefed in the matter.
Mr Davis also submitted an application to vary bail, arguing his daily reporting conditions to police prevented him from travelling to Sydney to meet with his legal team.
“He’s lucky to have bail,” Mr Holmes replied.
Ms Magni opposed the application and said there had been a report of an attempt to contact a possible Crown witness.
He’s lucky to have bail.Magistrate Michael Holmes
She said if the conditions were relaxed it allowed “more opportunities to leave the area to approach or influence Crown witnesses”.
Mr Davis rejected the allegation and said his client was a very low flight risk, doesn’t have a passport and wasn’t likely to get a trial date in the district court until late next year.
"That is the first we have heard of that attempt to influence,” he said. "It is unequivocally denied.”
He said his client has “extremely strong ties to the community, has family here, grew up here, has properties in the Northern Tablelands”.
Mr Holmes granted the variation, ordering Croft to report three times a week to police, and is only allowed to leave the Northern Tablelands for legal appointments in Tamworth or Sydney.
The case will return to court in November.