Extradited on claims of 1984 rape

A MORANBAH man, 53, will be flown under police escort to South Australia today to face five charges of raping a 14-year-old girl in 1984.

The man is a former black belt martial arts instructor from Adelaide and the girl, now aged 40, was one of his former students.

The man would vigorously defend the charges, his Mackay solicitor Geoff Govey, of Taylors Solicitors, said yesterday.

“These allegations have come out of the blue and he is flabbergasted by them,” Mr Govey told the Mackay Magistrate’s Court.

Rape and sexual assault allegations were made against the man in October, 2009 – 25 years after they allegedly occurred – and the Supreme Court in Adelaide issued a warrant for his arrest on November 29 this year.

He was interviewed in Moranbah three days ago and two South Australian detectives flew to Mackay yesterday to successfully apply for his extradition.

The man can not be identified at this stage under Queensland and South Australian laws.

The man faces five charges of rape, three of inciting an act of indecency, and seven of sexual assault, all involving the same 14-year-old girl between June and November 1984.

The offences have a maximum penalty of life imprisonment in South Australia.

He was taken into custody in Moranbah on Wednesday and was driven to Mackay for extradition proceedings, which were heard yesterday before Magistrate Damien Dwyer.

The court heard that the man allegedly made admissions to having consensual sex with a person in 1984 but he is alleged to have told police he thought the person was a 16-year-old girl and not 14.

Mackay prosecutor Sergeant Gavin Richardson said that, even if that belief was correct, the age of consent in South Australia is 17. It is 16 in Queensland.

Mr Govey applied for bail for the man, saying the man had lived in Adelaide until about 2000 and had lived in Townville since 2001 with his wife and children.

The man also had employment as a contractor at the mines, Mr Govey said, and wanted to continue working to raise funds to pay for his defence and to continue to support his wife.

“He’s quite happy to go down and face the charges,” Mr Govey said.

“He is not a flight risk. He hasn’t fled the jurisdiction and he hasn’t disappeared from the earth. His name is on the electoral roll.

“He is prepared to report to police until he gets back to South Australia.

“He has relatives and friends there and was last in Adelaide in July this year.

“He maintains he had sex with the girl but he had no idea she was 14. He has maintained it was consensual.”

Mr Dwyer refused bail and remanded the man into the custody of South Australian detectives Suzanne Barlow and Peter Bulmer, to appear in the Holden Hills Magistrate’s Court next Monday.

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