A woman who alleges she was sexually abused by her grandfather when she was a child says disclosing the accusations has changed her life.
Michelle Wilson, 41, said a "weight lifted from my shoulders" after she made a police report in January, three decades after she alleges she was assaulted by a man she should have been able to trust.
"I carried that weight for 30 years ... I don't have to anymore," the Engadine woman said as tears welled in her eyes outside Wollongong courthouse.
Her 90-year-old grandfather, Ronald Charles Kissell Senior, was arrested in February 27. He was granted bail the following day due to his frail physical state and myriad of medical issues.
The Helensburgh man has been charged with four counts of sexual intercourse with a person under 10, four counts of inciting a person under 16 to do an indecent act, and three counts of indecently assaulting a person under 16.
The allegations date between 1984 and 1989 and relate to Ms Wilson and her cousin Candice Ashton when they were minors. Prosecutors will allege the pair were abused while under Kissell's care.
Kissell was wheeled into Wollongong District Court on Thursday where Judge Huw Baker deemed him unfit to stand trial after assessing reports from forensic psychiatrists and a neuropsychologist.
Judge Baker said Kissell was an "extremely frail man" who had difficulty hearing and frequently lost his train of thought.
Kissell displayed a plethora of ailments and cognitive issues, including significant deficits in comprehension of information and short-term memory loss, the judge said.
So much so that this would impact his ability to form a defence, instruct his legal representatives, and understand the prosecution case, even with explanation.
"I am not satisfied anything could be done to modify the trial process," Judge Baker said.
The judge added Kissell is unlikely to show signs of improvement within the next 12 months due to his advanced age, and found he was unfit to stand trial.
Instead, Kissell will face a special hearing without a jury, set down for October 21 next year. He will remain on bail until then.
Ms Wilson felt "relieved" to have a date despite it being a year away.
"It's obviously a date further away than I'd hoped for ... nevertheless it's something, it's progress," Ms Wilson said.
Both women said whatever the result, reporting the allegations has positively impacted their lives.
"We don't have to hide and pretend anymore," Ms Ashton said.
"I can't reiterate how much this has changed who I am as a person," Ms Wilson said, adding that the Wollongong detectives she has been working with have been "amazing".
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence contact the national sexual assault, domestic violence counselling service 24-hour helpline 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
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