A man has appeared in court in Sussex having been extradited from Australia to face sex assault charges, Sussex Police has confirmed.
Police said Meirion Griffiths, 80, of Coachwood Way, Maddington, Perth, Western Australia, appeared in custody 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 and another woman in the 1970s and 1980s, police confirmed.
A police spokesman said: “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.
“Meirion Griffiths had arrived at Heathrow Airport on January 31 on a flight from Australia, in the custody of Sussex Police officers.
“The prosecution follows an investigation by Sussex Police 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 police said Meirion Griffiths was Church of England vicar of St Pancras in Chichester.
Throughout the investigation, Sussex Police said it has had full co-operation from the Chichester Diocese of the Church of England.
Police emphasise that there are no current safeguarding issues or risks for anyone connected to St Pancras church.