An ex-Marist Brother in court on child-sex charges from the 1960s

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 January 2020

In 1960 at the age of 17, Joseph William Weygood began training in Victoria to become a Marist Brother. In those years, the Marists gave each new recruit a religious name, so Joseph Weygood became known to pupils as "Brother Cyril", although he later changed his name to "Brother Joseph". He taught during the 1960s (as a Brother) at Catholic schools in Victoria and South Australia. In the 1970s, he ceased being a Marist Brother and later worked as a lay teacher (Mister Weygood) in schools elsewhere in Australia and overseas. In 2019, aged 77, Joseph Weygood faced court in Adelaide, charged with child-sexual abuse relating to his time in South Australia in the 1960s. He contested the charges. On 24 January 2020, a judge ruled that, despite evidence about brutality and cruelty, there was not sufficient to convict Weygood on sexual charges.

In 2018, South Australian Police began investigating complaints they had received about Weygood concerning his time as a Marist Brother in Adelaide schools. The investigating officer is Detective Acting Sergeant Katie Dalton (at the Special Crime Investigation Branch, Wakefield Street, Adelaide).

After a hearing in a magistrates court, Weygood's case proceeded to the South Australian Supreme Court, where he entered a plea of Not Guilty on charges of indecent assault.

On 12 December 2019, Joseph Weygood began undergoing a trial by a judge alone (that is, no jury). On 24 January 2020, Auxiliary Justice Michael David announced his decision.

The judge noted that the former student spoke about brutality and cruelty and about Weygood being tactile with some students. The judge said that the relationship between Mr Weygood and the complainant was "unusual, if not suspicious".

Nevertheless, in deciding whether it is proved that sexual offences happened, the judge said :"I am short of the certainty that is required to convict [on the indecent charges]."

"Being in that state of mind, I find the accused not guilty of both counts."