Nimbin man faces court over historic child sex offences

AN ELDERLY Nimbin man is facing more than 10 historical child sex assault charges which allegedly date back to the late 1970s.

David Huggett, 74, was granted bail in the Lismore Local Court yesterday after a lengthy hearing.

British-born Huggett was arrested in April.

The 74-year-old Nimbin resident faces three counts of carnal knowledge of a girl under 10, seven counts of indecently assaulting a female under 16, four counts of committing an act of indecency on a female under 16, two counts of sexual assault on a person under 16, one count of possessing child abuse material, and drug possession.

The alleged offences relate to a single victim.

In arguing for bail, Huggett's barrister Megan Cusack told the court her client had lived in Nimbin "for a number of years", where he owned a home, and had no criminal convictions.

Ms Cusack also argued the three counts of carnal knowledge against her client were not borne out by the available evidence because there had been no alleged penile penetration.

"When you look at the details of the allegation, it is not carnal knowledge," Ms Cusack said.

After a lunchtime adjournment the Crown agreed that the carnal knowledge charges were "unable to be borne out" by the available evidence.

But the Crown still opposed bail on the basis that there were recorded admissions of "sexual conduct" with a child which were "extremely serious offences".

Police had recorded a phone conversation between the complainant and Huggett in which admissions were allegedly made, and later seized a photo of the complainant at Huggett's home.

The Crown also argued that the Huggett had made "threats" to interfere with alleged victims and witnesses in the case.

He had allegedly told the complainant "when I do my wack (sic) I'm going to come and find you."

Ms Cusack questioned whether he had ever uttered those words, arguing he was "quite an educated man" and had never been to jail before nor ever attempted to contact the alleged victim.

But Magistrate Peter Bugden was not immediately prepared to grant bail without questioning the alleged threat.

"The issue that has concerned me... was the interference with witnesses," he said.

"I was concerned about the level of threat contained in those two sentences."

But ultimately Magistrate Bugden declared he would grant Huggett bail on strict conditions.

Huggett is to reside at a fixed address in Ballina with daily reporting obligations to Ballina Police Station. He must adhere to a 7pm-7am curfew, surrender his passport, pay a $5000 bond upon his release, and not to enter Nimbin except in the presence of a police officer.

He is also forbidden from approaching or contacting the complainant or any of her extended family nor contact any witnesses or potential witnesses.

The matter returns to Lismore Local Court on July 4.

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