Continued name suppression has been refused for an 89-year-old man facing historic sex abuse charges, in a case that went to appeal in the High Court.
The charges against Ronald Edward Growcott date back up to 52 years.
Growcott has been granted electronically monitored bail again after he was arrested in December for absconding on bail and going to Australia. He was returned from Australia without getting past Brisbane Airport.
He faces charges of sexual violation by rape, indecent assault on a girl aged under 12 years, indecent assault on a girl aged 12 to 16 years and inducing an indecent act on a girl under 12 years.
When he returned to Christchurch in December, he was remanded in custody for a time, and Christchurch District Court Judge Alistair Garland later decided that name suppression would be refused.
Growcott’s defence counsel, Andrew McCormick, appealed that decision before Justice Gerald Nation in the High Court at Christchurch last week and the judge’s written decision has now been released.
Justice Nation said there was a presumption in favour of open justice and transparency. He said neither he nor the District Court judge were convinced that publication of Growcott’s name would cause “extreme hardship”, which was the requirement for continued suppression.
He dismissed the appeal and said there was no basis for continued suppression.
The charges against Growcott have been remanded to a case review hearing in April.