A South Coast grandfather has gone on trial accused of sexually assaulting six children over the space of a decade.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons but is now aged in his 70s, is facing 77 charges relating to child abuse amid allegations he repeatedly molested the children – and sometimes filmed the acts – between 2004 and 2014.
He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In an opening address to the NSW District Court on Monday, Crown prosecutor Michael Fox said five of the six complainants were the man’s biological or step grandchildren.
He said it was anticipated the children, the youngest of which was just six years old at the time, would detail that the abuse against them occurred in multiple locations on the South Coast while they were in the man’s care.
The first incident in time is alleged to have been the indecent assault of an eight-year-old girl in 2004.
However, the Crown will allege the man’s behaviour escalated significantly over the next 10 years, to the point where he was filming himself engaging in sexual acts with some of the children to produce child pornography.
It will be alleged some of the filming took place in a secret, makeshift studio the man had set up in the roof cavity above his garage at the home he shared with his wife.
Other children were allegedly paid money by the man to pose for him in various states of undress.
Mr Fox anticipated the court would hear evidence that some of the children were given alcohol and drugs (both prescription and illicit) during these encounters.
The Mercury has chosen not to print more detailed descriptions of the individual charges owing to the exceptionally graphic nature of the allegations.
Meantime, the Crown will allege the man made admissions to some of the incidents in conversations he had with people while he was awaiting trial.
In one discussion, said to have taken place with a cellmate while the man was in jail on remand, he allegedly told his fellow prisoner that one of the children had “wanted it” and that the sex between them had been “consensual”.
It is alleged he also made admissions to his wife and brother in recorded jail calls.
It is understood the recordings of those calls will be played to the court during the trial, along with video interviews police took with each of the children during their investigation.
Meantime, defence barrister Linda McSpedden chose not to give an opening address to the court on Monday.
The trial is expected to last up to five weeks and is being heard by a judge, in the absence of a jury.