The 90-year-old is due to return to Lismore District Court next month.
The 90-year-old is due to return to Lismore District Court next month. Marc Stapelberg

Delays in dealing with 90-year-old child sex offender

A COMMUNICATION error has halted the carrying out of a sentence imposed on an elderly Northern Rivers man.

The 90-year-old, who cannot be identified, faced a sentencing hearing before Lismore District Court in March.

He had faced a special hearing after being found unfit to stand trial.

In the hearing, he was found to have committed 10 offences, including two counts of sexual intercourse with a person under 10 years, grooming a child under 14 years and seven counts of indecently assaulting a person under 16 years which were committed between 2010 and 2013.

But he was not formally convicted of the offences.

His victim was a female foster child who his wife was caring for, aged between seven and 10 at the time of the offending.

Judge Wells gave the man a seven year limiting sentence, as opposed to a prison sentence, in March.

He may serve this term as a forensic patient in a mental health facility but he was released on bail pending an assessment from that tribunal, to determine where his term should be served.

He was not required to appear before the court when the matter was mentioned on Wednesday.

The Crown prosecutor told the court the Mental Health Review Tribunal had not been notified of the case.

"Our instructions are the tribunal would normally ask for four to six weeks," the prosecutor said.

"They do know about it already."

Defence solicitor Jim Fuggle brought to the court's attention his client could have problems if the tribunal elects to take him into the custody of Corrective Services.

"If he's to go into custody with correctives, they would have to make some arrangements for him," Mr Fuggle said.

Mr Fuggle said his client would be "physically incapable" of descending the stairs that lead from the court room into the cells.

The court earlier heard the 90-year-old man was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in the time since the incidents.

Judge Wells adjourned the matter to June 26.