Wallangarra man David Joseph Perrett complying with bail to live in Armidale on historical sex abuse charges

On bail: David Jospeh Perrett walks out of Armidale Local Court on Wednesday. Photo: Rachel Baxter

On bail: David Jospeh Perrett walks out of Armidale Local Court on Wednesday. Photo: Rachel Baxter

A FORMER New England priest who was running a homeless shelter in Wallangarra and is now accused of indecently assaulting young boys has appeared in open court for the first time, two weeks after he was extradited from Queensland by detectives.

David Joseph Perrett was flanked by his brother, Ron Perrett, also a retired priest, in Armidale Local Court on Wednesday morning.

He is facing nine counts of indecent assault on a male after a lengthy investigation spearheaded by Armidale detectives.

Perrett, now aged 79, was not required to enter pleas to the charges as the DPP sought court orders for a brief of evidence.

A solicitor for Perrett said he was only appearing on a pro-bono basis because Perrett was a former client with the court told a Tamworth-based solicitor would take on the case.

Detectives allege Perrett indecently assault one young boy three times between January 1 and December 31, 1970, at Armidale.

He’s also accused of assaulting the same young boy in Armidale twice in 1971 and then again in 1972.

Perrett is also alleged to have indecently abused two young boys in Lower Creek, at different times in 1976, and a fourth boy at Guyra between 1982 and 83.

“We just ask that bail is continued,” the solicitor told the court.

“At the moment he’s living at an address in Armidale with his brother Ron Perrett.

“He’s complying with his conditions.”

Police opposed the former priest’s bail after Armidale detectives travelled to Warwick in Queensland on May 4 to arrest him, but he was granted bail in an out-of-sessions bail hearing in court.

“There are a number of charges,” Magistrate Michael Holmes said on Wednesday, before the DPP said they would not be making any application to vary the bail conditions.

At the moment he’s living at an address in Armidale with his brother Ron Perrett. He’s complying with his conditions.

Solicitor for Perrett

“Bail is to continue, there is no application by the prosecution.”

As part of his bail conditions, Perrett has been ordered not to leave home unaccompanied and must report to police four times a week.

He is also prohibited from going within 50m of any school, playground or place frequented by young people.

Bail is to continue, there is no application by the prosecution.

Magistrate Michael Holmes

During the bail application earlier this month, police argued another member of the public had come forward to speak with detectives since the matter was made public.

On Wednesday, New England police said investigations were continuing in the case.

On May 6, Perrett’s solicitor told the court during the bail application that he was an upstanding community member who had complied with bail previously and would plead not guilty.

She submitted Perrett ran a homeless shelter at Wallangarra, where he has lived for 18 years.

The case returns to court next month.