News

Aborted rape trials involving Toogoom man cost $39,000

UPDATE: Almost $40,000 has gone down the drain in a trial of a Toogoom man accused of raping a 16-year-old girl.

The public money has been spent on two aborted trials within one week in the Maryborough Supreme Court.

Technical difficulties and a botched charge have resulted in both being declared mistrials.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General said the approximate cost of running a Supreme Court trial was $6500 per day.

Added to this, the basic allowance for the 24 jurors needed across both mistrials was $111 per day.

Combined, these drains on the public purse come to $39,160 for a case which still has not been dealt with.

The 38-year-old man is alleged to have forced the girl to perform oral sex in his home in Toogoom.

He is also charged with indecent treatment of a child, as it is alleged the rape took place in front of the girl's 14-year-old friend.

After a mistrial due to a faulty sound recording last week, the retrial was expected to finish yesterday.

Instead, Justice Margaret Wilson ordered the second mistrial within a week, due to problems with the man's other two charges of supplying drugs to the girls.

Justice Wilson said the man was officially charged with supplying the girls with amphetamine, when the allegation against him was that he supplied them with methylamphetamine.

Justice Wilson said she had "substantial misgivings" about whether or not the two drugs were similar enough for the charges to legally proceed.

After Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden withdrew the drugs charges, Justice Wilson said the jury, which had sat through days of evidence, could not give a verdict on the remaining sex offences.

This was because the jury had heard testimony about the drugs charges, which were now withdrawn, which could be prejudicial to the defendant.

A mistrial was ordered.

Justice Wilson said the possibility of moving the next re-trial to Brisbane could be examined.

The next sitting of the Supreme Court in Brisbane occurs in January and the next sitting in Maryborough is in March.

Justice Wilson acknowledged the costs, saying it was "unfortunate for the community that more resources will have to be deployed".

The matter was adjourned and the man left the court on bail.

Toogoom man's rape trial aborted for the second time

A MISTRIAL has been ordered for a second time in the case of a man accused raping a 16-year-old girl.

The 38-year-old man is alleged to have forced the girl to perform oral sex in his home in Toogoom.

He is also charged with indecent treatment of a child, as it is alleged the rape took place in front of the girl's 14-year-old friend.

The trial was expected to finish today, as the prosecution finished giving its evidence on Friday, and the defence chose not to give or call evidence of its own.

Instead, Justice Margaret Wilson ordered the second mistrial within a week, due to problems with the man's other two charges, which were of supplying drugs to the girls.

Even though these charges were withdrawn this morning, Justice Wilson declared there would be too much prejudice for the defendant if the same jury was asked to decide his fate on the remaining charges.

The case was adjourned and the man left the court on bail.

Topics:  maryborough supreme court rape



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