A FORMER vicar from Chichester has appeared in court in Sussex having been extradited from Australia to face sex assault charges.
Meirion Griffiths, 80, of Coachwood Way, Maddington, Perth, Western Australia, appeared at Crawley magistrates’ court on Thursday, January 31, charged on an extradition warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London in December, 2016.
The warrant alleges that he committed several indecent assaults against a girl then in her late teens in the mid-1970s, and several indecent assaults against a woman then in her mid-twenties in 1982.
All the offences are alleged to have taken place at various locations in West Sussex.
He pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody to appear at Portsmouth Crown Court on March 1.
Griffiths had arrived at Heathrow Airport on a flight from Australia, in the custody of Sussex Police officers.
The prosecution follows an investigation by detectives after the allegations were received in 2014, and follows subsequent court hearings in Western Australia after his arrest in November, 2017, by Western Australia Police on the authority of the extradition warrant.
At the time of the alleged offences, Griffiths was Church of England vicar of St Pancras in Chichester.
Throughout the investigation, Sussex Police have had full co-operation from the Chichester Diocese of the Church of England.
Police emphasised that there were no current safeguarding issues or risks for anyone connected with St Pancras Church.