Legal glitches block brothers' extradition to New Zealand
Peculiarities of the extradition rules between New Zealand and Australia intended to make the process easier have prevented two St John of God clergymen on sex abuse charges from being extradited across the Tasman.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Br Rodger Moloney, 71, faces 28 charges, including sodomy, for allegedly assaulting 12 boys between 1971 and 1977 at a Christchurch boarding school for the disadvantaged and Fr Raymond Garchow, 58, faces four charges, dating from between 1971 and 1980.
The men who deny the charges won an appeal against extradition in April, when a Federal Court judge, Rodney Madgwick, decided their trial was likely to be unjust, mainly because of the time that had elapsed since the alleged offences occurred.
In extradition cases, the question of fairness during a trial is normally a matter for the court hearing the charges, and even Justice Madgwick said in his judgement that the situation was "less than satisfactory", the Herald notes.
The problem or the issue is that the rules for New Zealand allow Australian judges to look into the justice of a case that would be heard in New Zealand - which they cannot do for other countries such as Zimbabwe.
Recognising that New Zealand did not face widespread corruption, human rights abuses or judicial incapacity like some other countries, Judge Madgwick said that the law should be amended to make it clear that the issue of fairness should be for New Zealand courts to decide.
However, he was bound to apply the law as it stood and refused the extradition.
A full bench of five Federal Court judges yesterday reserved its decision to an unspecified date.
Fresh extradition battle for clerics on sex charges (Sydney Morning Herald 3/8/06)
Five years jail for St John of God brother (CathNews 28/4/06)
Mystery over high-profile abuse case (CathNews 26/5/05)
Extra protection for John of God accused (CathNews 16/2/05)
Marist Frs plead not guilty to sex offences (CathNews 23/7/04)
Tasmanian sex abuse crisis continues
SA man 'abused in confessional box' (ABC News 2/8/06)
Priest on the run (Bulletin 8/8/06)
3 Aug 2006