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Former MP facing child sex abuse charges over his time running notorious ‘paedophile’s paradise’ boy’s home loses bid to avoid trial

A former federal MP facing historical child sex abuse charges over his time in charge of a notorious boy’s home where dozens of children were abused by staff has lost his bid to avoid trial.

Alasdair Webster, 90, who was Liberal member for the western Sydney seat of Macquarie from 1984 to 1993, is facing 20 charges including buggery and indecent assault, laid in 2020, relating to a period in the 1970s and 80s when he was chief superintendent of the Daruk Training School for state wards and juvenile offenders.

Defence lawyers for Webster, who has pleaded not guilty, told the Downing Centre District Court on Tuesday that his trial should be permanently suspended due to his mental and physical health, and due to concerns about the historical nature of the charges, The Daily Telegraph reported.

But Judge Jane Culver told the court those concerns needed to be balanced against the public interest of allowing the criminal allegations to be resolved, and refused the application for a permanent stay. Webster will face a jury trial at a later date.

The charges were “serious allegations of physical and sexual violence against children in the care of [Webster],” Judge Culver told the court.

The court heard Webster’s charges related to six complainants, and cover allegations he touched the genitalia of some victims and forced them to perform oral sex on him, while other allegations are too graphic to publish.

Webster received an Order of Australia Medal in 2008 for “services to the Parliament of Australia, and to the community, through Indigenous, educational and service organisations” and was in charge of the boy’s home between 1973 and 1984.

Daruk was later dubbed a “paedophile’s paradise” by teenagers who were physically and sexually abused during their time there, and by 2018 80 alleged victims had come forward.

Other staff at the school have also been charged.

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