5 Sep 2013

Decision reserved on McGrath's extradition appeal

5:02 pm on 5 September 2013

A High Court judge has reserved his decision on the extradition appeal of a former Catholic brother.

An application from the Australian Federal Police to extradite Bernard McGrath from Christchurch was granted in October last year.

He faces 252 charges of sexual abuse in Australia - including rape, molestation and abuse - involving dozens of boys in New South Wales in the 1970s and 80s.

Lawyer Pip Hall QC told Justice Whata that District Court Judge Jane Farish made an error in law in granting the extradition when she said she was not considering humanitarian circumstances such as McGrath's age, and also the 30-year delay between the charges being laid and the alleged offending.

Crown Prosecutor Mark Zarife said those factors related to the person and not the case. He said the Australian judicial system was well equipped to cope with those considerations.

Justice Whata expects to make a decision by early next week.

Heavy suppression orders are in place.

The appellant was not in court.