Four accused in performing arts school child abuse case appear in court, defence seeks charges to be dropped



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October 12, 2018 14:24:15

The lawyer representing four people, linked to a regional New South Wales performing arts school, accused of sexually and physically abusing three young boys says he will apply to have their charges thrown out at the next court appearance.

Therese Cook, 58, her brother Paul Cook, 52, daughter Yyani Cook-Williams, 29, and an adopted daughter, Clarissa Meredith, 23, along with three others who cannot be named for legal reasons, are charged with a total of 127 offences relating to the physical and sexual abuse of three boys who were known to them between 2014 and 2016.

Today was the first time four named accused came to court in person, after recently receiving bail.

Prosecutor Vincenzo Costantino applied for an adjournment to allow police time to re-interview the alleged victims.

He said it was taking time because the three boys lived interstate and due to the extensive list of charges.

Police alleged the group abused three boys under the age of eight from 2014 to 2016. Court documents state at the time of the abuse, one of the boys was aged seven, another turned four and the youngest was no older than two.

The allegations include multiple instances where Ms Cook, Ms Cook-Williams and Ms Meredith would rape the boys in the company of one or more of the others, and in some instances film the assaults.

Mr Cook was charged with watching the assaults and filming.

The boys were not students of the performing arts school, but it is alleged the assaults happened at the school and a nearby property, where Paul and Therese Cook and Ms Meredith lived.

At a Sydney local court this morning, defence lawyer Bryan Wrench said this was the third time the prosecution had applied for an adjournment to conduct those interviews.

“We don’t know why it hasn’t occurred … they can’t fix this broken case,” Mr Wrench told the court.

“We ask that it be done very quickly on this occasion.”

Mr Wrench also said he would make a no bill application at the next court date in December, for the matter to not proceed.

“This case has gone on long enough,” Mr Wrench said out the court, adding that his clients were innocent.

He has previously told the court the case against his clients is weak and the allegations could be “fabricated”.

Topics:

crime,

law-crime-and-justice,

sydney-2000



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