CHIANG MAI – 93-year-old Australian Karl Joseph Kraus appeared back in a Chiang Mai court this week accused of raping four sisters while living in Chiang Mai Thailand.
Karl Joseph Kraus had to be carried from a prison bus into a wheelchair by other inmates in order to be wheeled into the dock in Chiang Mai province, in the north of the country.
He is alleged to have attacked the girls, aged between seven and 15, in 2010.
After being arrested and bailed on suspicion of rape, Kraus attempted to flee to Burma, from where he was deported for not having a valid visa.
His lawyers are now trying to get the rape case dropped, arguing that he is too ill to stand trial.
Last month he told a Sydney Newspaper the Morning Telegraph,
“I’ll be dead’ before proceedings conclude, adding ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Kraus, a German-born Australian citizen, is suffering from an array of serious illnesses such as dementia and cancer, according to his lawyers.
However, while free on bail he was apparently seen driving around Chiang Mai and did not seem to be in poor health.
The former railway worker had been living in Thailand for more than a decade when he first met the girls he was alleged to have abused in 2008.
Thai police claimed that Kraus offered to teach the children English, and persuaded them to visit his house by offering them chocolate and money.
But the girls then told their parents that Kraus had repeatedly touched them, and the parents reported Kraus to the police.
Officials allegedly found more than 100 child pornography images on his computer, many of which had been emailed to addresses based outside Thailand.
However, Kraus later claimed that he was told the case would be dropped if he agreed to bribe police with a sum equivalent to £10,000.