A FORMER priest will stand trial on close to 130 historical abuse charges, after prosecutors laid more child sex offences that carry life behind bars, if found guilty.
David Joseph Perrett appeared via video link in Armidale Local Court on Wednesday from prison where he was being held on more than 140 historical abuse allegations.
In court, prosecutors laid eight new counts of adult maintain unlawful relationship with a child - a charge that carries life imprisonment, if convicted.
The child abuse allegations stem from when Perrett was a serving Catholic priest in the Armidale, Walcha, Guyra and wider New England area, in the 1970s, '80s and '90s.
Magistrate Michael Holmes formally committed Perrett for trial to the district court on 130 separate charges.
He faces 90 charges of indecent assault on a male; 10 counts of sexual assault category four; eight counts of adult maintain unlawful relationship with a child; three counts of buggery; and 19 other aggravated sexual or indecent assault, or assault-related charges. Charges in place at the time of the alleged offending.
Almost 20 charges including an anomaly in the charging process were withdrawn by prosecutors during the proceedings.
Perrett will formally enter pleas at an arraignment in the Armidale District Court at a mention of the case in May.
On Wednesday, he was formally refused bail by Mr Holmes who ordered he remain in custody until his next court appearance.
The charges before the court relate to almost 40 complainants - all young children at the time of the alleged acts of abuse in the New England and North West - after investigations by Strike Force Bennett.
Strike Force Bennett was established to investigate claims of historical abuse before Perrett, who is now retired, was extradited by Armidale detectives from Wallangara in May 2017.
Perrett has been behind bars since August last year when he had his bail revoked, after Mr Holmes found he failed to show cause why his detention was not justified - a test under the state's bail laws.
Perrett has lodged a new application for release in the same court which is set down to be heard later this month.