A Catholic religious Brother is pleading Not Guilty in a Melbourne court

  • Article updated 28 February 2021

An elderly Catholic religious Brother (John David Frith) has been ordered to undergo a criminal trial, with a jury, in the Australian state of Victoria. The charges involved offences which allegedly occurred some years ago (in the 1970s and 1980s) against boys at a Catholic secondary school — Monivae College, situated at Hamilton, 290 kilometres west of Melbourne. Brother Frith has pleaded Not Guilty.

The case of John David Frith was investigated by detectives from a specialist unit (the Sano Taskforce) in the Victoria Police, Melbourne.

The case had its first mention in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 14 September 2018. A preliminary (committal) hearing was held in 2019. This magistrate ordered Frith to stand trial with a judge in the Victorian County Court.

A jury trial for Frith was due to begin in the County Court in 2020. The trial was postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Now the trial is scheduled to be held in 2021. Frith is on bail.

Monivae College was established by a Catholic religious order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.