Close-up of Priest collar
Close-up of Priest collar

Ex-priest on sex assault charges may not be ‘fit’ for trial

A FORMER priest who has been accused of buggery might not be fit to stand trial, a court has heard.

Allan Kitchingman has been charged with committing a historic act of buggery against the alleged victim between January 1, 1978 and September 12, 1978 at Lennox Head, according to court documents.

Mr Kitchingman, 86, was due to have a medical assessment to show the impacts of his dementia on December 17 but was unable to undergo testing because of a significant fall he had in early December.

Mr Kitchingman's solicitor, Hugh van Dugteren, said he was unable to get proper instruction from his client "because of his dementia".

A medical letter was presented to Lismore Local Court on Wednesday detailing Mr Kitchingman's current health position.

"He's in incredibly frail circumstances," Mr van Dugteren said.

"With Mr Kitchingman's matter it's clear that fitness is an issue."

Mr van Dugteren said his client might not be fit to enter a plea or stand trial because of his dementia and was arranging for him to undergo a neuropsychological report.

The DPP prosecutor told the court a charge certificate was ready and had been filed but did not object to an adjournment for case conferencing.

Magistrate Michael Dakin said hoped the neuropsychological report could be carried out promptly to avoid further delays.

"I appreciate the difficulties, but I think it should be advanced sooner rather than later," he said.

The matter was adjourned to May 13 for case conference.

Mr Kitchingman has been excused from appearing if legally represented on May 13.