A DEFROCKED priest charged with numerous historic child sex offences will finally stand trial in Sydney early next year.
The former Armidale priest, whose identity has been gagged, was sent to trial at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Friday.
He will stand trial in Sydney on January 18.
The trial is expected to take four weeks.
The ex-priest first appeared before the Armidale Local Court on October 18, 2012.
He had been charged with more than 120 offences, including 25 charges relating to the abuse of three girls across regional NSW between 1979 and 1988; 36 charges relating to the abuse of six boys between 1981 and 1984 in Moree and 64 charges relating to the abuse of two girls and one altar boy between 1982 and 1985.
Since then, he has appeared before court more than 15 times.
Magistrate Karen Stafford committed the ex-priest to stand trail after a day-long hearing in November.
At that time five witnesses were cross examined, with Armidale Local court being closed to the public while an alleged victim, a former alter boy, gave evidence.
The former alter boy, now a middle-aged man, was questioned for more than an hour.
At that appearance prosecutors attempted to lift a long-standing gag order, however Magistrate Stafford denied the request, saying defence had not been notified of the application.
The order prohibits the publication of any information that may lead to his identification.