Ex-priest acquitted of charges regarding St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, NSW

In Sydney's Downing Centre District Court on 4 March 2016, a former Catholic priest (now aged 73) was acquitted on charges of indecently assaulting a male student. The alleged victim was a student at St Stanislaus College boys' school in Bathurst, New South Wales, in the 1970s. The defence lawyer has obtained a court order, prohibiting the publication of the ex-priest's name.

The ex-priest was charged in early 2014 by police officers attached to Strike Force Belle, which was established in 2008 to investigate allegations regarding St Stanislaus’ College at Bathurst, 200 kilometres west of Sydney, in the 1970s and 1980s. Documents tendered to a local court alleged that the defendant performed a series of sex acts on, and in front, of a student at St Stanislaus College boys' school in Bathurst between 1974 and 1977.

In Bathurst Local Court on 30 June 2014, a magistrate ordered the ex-priest (then aged 71 and living in Sydney) to stand trial in the NSW District Court.

A trial began on 19 January 2015 at the Downing Centre District Court but this ended in a hung jury. Therefore a re-trial was needed.

On 4 March 2016, the defendant was acquitted of all charges by Judge Leonie Flannery in a judge-alone trial.

(Article updated 14 March 2016.)