A former soldier accused of running a “sex cult” has pleaded not guilty to a series of charges after a magistrate demanded his court battle be moved along.
James-Robert Davis has been in custody on remand for more than a year after he was arrested in March 2021 over allegations he kept a woman as a slave at Maroubra in Sydney’s eastern suburbs between 2013-2015.
At the time of Mr Davis’ arrest last year, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) issued a statement saying the alleged victim had been manipulated as part of a “so-called cult”.
The former ADF soldier initially faced three charges over the alleged slavery and sexual servitude of the woman, but they were withdrawn in September and a large number of alternative charges were laid when more alleged victims came forward.
The remaining charges include sexual intercourse without consent, torturing an animal, detaining a person, using a carriage service to prepare or plan to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16 and disseminating child abuse material.
Some of the offences police allege relate to incidents as far back as 2001.
Mr Davis has also been charged with offences related to the alleged possession of unauthorised firearms and ammunition.
His matter was mentioned on Tuesday at Sydney’s Central Local Court where his lawyers requested it be adjourned, but the magistrate demanded it be moved along.
Mr Davis’ lawyer Serae Kopra then entered pleas of not guilty to 14 charges, including six counts of common assault, three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two charges of stalk and intimidate with intent to cause fear or physical harm and three counts of intentionally distributing intimate images without consent.
The matter on Thursday returned to court where Ms Kopra told the court the charges would remain in the Local Court and be dealt with by police prosecutors.
She said the charges involved four women, and the defence was looking into having four separate hearings.
Ms Kopra said the prosecution and defence were working together to create a timetable for the hearings.
Mr Davis is yet to enter pleas to the remaining charges.
Nine charges have been withdrawn since his matter has been through the courts, including reducing a person to slavery, possessing a slave, causing a person to remain in servitude, three counts of possess or use a prohibited weapon and two counts of possess an unregistered firearm.
The matter will return to court on June 16.
Mr Davis is an ex-prison guard and ADF soldier and has referred to himself as the master of a group dubbed the “House of Cadifor”.