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Canberra priest to stand trial over alleged sex offences

Father Edward Evans at the ACT Magistrates Court.

Father Edward Evans at the ACT Magistrates Court. Photo: Christopher Knaus

A Canberra Catholic priest will stand trial over allegations of historical offences against a child in the 1990s.

The ACT Magistrates Court also heard Father Edward Evans was under police investigation over further allegations and fresh charges could be laid in the coming weeks.

Father Evans, 84, was arrested and charged earlier this year with three acts of indecency between 1994 and 1997.

Father Edward Evans, right.

Father Edward Evans, right. Photo: Christopher Knaus

The German-language chaplain is accused of indecently touching a girl three times, twice when she was between 11 and 12, and a third time when she was 13.

He has pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

The priest worked with Canberra's German Catholic community, and represents the country's Catholic mission.

Among other services, Father Evans conducted German-language masses at St Patrick's Catholic Church, Braddon, on Sundays.

Father Evans did not appear in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday as he had been excused from attendance.

The prosecution sought to have the matter committed for trial in the ACT Supreme Court, arguing the pending charges, when laid, would require the matter go before a judge.

But his lawyer, Ben Aulich, said the defence had received no information on the fresh allegations and the hearing should remain in the Magistrates Court.

The court heard 17 witnesses would be called during the four day hearing next year, including former Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra, Pat Power.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker set the matter for hearing in the lower court in March next year.

But Ms Walker told the prosecution they could reapply to transfer the case to the Supreme Court if the foreshadowed charges were laid.

Father Evans’ bail was continued.

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