17 Jan 2014

Collins to decide McGrath's extradition

8:58 pm on 17 January 2014

A decision on whether a former Catholic brother will be sent back to Australia to face hundreds of child sex charges has been referred to the Justice Minister Judith Collins.

Bernard Kevin McGrath faces 252 child sex abuse charges in Australia, including raping, molesting and abusing dozens of boys in the 1970s and 80s. The Australian government wants to extradite him.

Since Mr McGrath's return to New Zealand in December 2012, the extradition order filed in the District Court has been referred to the High Court and then back to the District Court for review.

Lawyers argued that the original decision to grant the extradition did not take into account various humanitarian factors.

However Judge Jane Farish has ruled that the decision must ultimately be made by the minister. In the Christchurch District Court on Friday morning, she said she was satisfied there were extraordinary and compelling reasons for the decision to be made by Ms Collins.

The full reasons for the judge's decision will be made available on Monday.

Strict suppression orders remain in place at the request of Australian authorities.