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Veteran Australian actress in court on child sex charges

Maggie Kirkpatrick
Maggie Kirkpatrick

Veteran Australian actress Maggie Kirkpatrick appeared in a Melbourne court over child sex allegations dating back to the 1980s.

The 74--year-old was charged with two counts of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl in the 1980s and one count of gross indecency with a person under 16.

She played a violent and corrupt warden nicknamed "The Freak" in the cult Australian soap opera set in a women's jail, Prisoner: Cell Block H.

Her character Joan Ferguson would molest inmates with the excuse of conducting body searches in the series, which ran from 1979 to 1986 and was known as Prisoner in Australia, and Caged Women in some other countries.

The court was closed while the complainant testified.

A witness, who cannot be named, testified that he was told by the alleged victim that she had been invited to Kirkpatrick's house where "some sexual things happened".

The hearing was continuing.

When police laid charges last month, Kirkpatrick denied the allegation.

"I need to go to court to have this ridiculous situation quashed," the Sydney-based actress told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"Allegations have been levelled at me, yes. Are they true? Absolutely not."

While her most famous role was in Prisoner, Kirkpatrick has since appeared in several Australian television series including All Saints, Pizza and Water Rats.

She recently played a stage role in Australia in the musical Wicked.