Surfboard maker on sex charges

A man argued that he should be able to opt out of the Queensland legal system.
A man argued that he should be able to opt out of the Queensland legal system. ©istockphoto/DNY59

IT TOOK 12 months but a Byron Bay businessman extradited from Indonesia to face a series of sex charges involving a young girl has appeared before Lismore Local Court.

Surfboard maker Paul Callahan, 49, appeared in court yesterday charged with 12 offences including indecent assault and sexual intercourse against the girl, who was then aged under 16.

The Crown is alleging the offences took place in 1997 and 1998 at Byron Bay.

No pleas were entered before magistrate Michael Dakin, and defence lawyer James Fuggle said his client agreed to waiver a committal hearing in Lismore Local Court with the matter to proceed directly to Lismore District Court.

Mr Dakin adjourned the matter to the Lismore District Court on October 21 for Callahan's arraignment.

NSW Police extradition proceedings against Callahan began in August last year when it was then reported he was facing a long wait in a Bali jail cell for the formal extradition proceedings to be finalised. He was extradited last month from Denpasar, Bali, where he had been living when arrested.

Police documents before the Denpasar District Court in 2008 show the businessman left Australia in 2002 not long after being questioned about the sexual assault allegations.

Married to a Balinese woman he was arrested by Indonesian authorities in July 2008 and has strongly denied the accusations.

His arrest came following an Australian Government request to Indonesian authorities, with Callahan named on the Interpol wanted list. The Denpasar District Court was told at the time he was not fighting the extradition process.

Following the extradition agreement Callahan had to spend time in Bali's Kerobokan Prison, with his Indonesian lawyer stating the extradition process could take another eight months or longer because of bureaucratic issues.

Magistrate Dakin also allowed his lawyer's request to vary Callahan's bail to allow him to live with his father in Melbourne until the case is heard.

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