St Kilda star Stephen Milne charged over 2004 rape claims
POLICE today charged St Kilda star Stephen Milne with four counts of rape following an alleged attack on a woman in 2004.
The charges follow a review of the case ordered by Victoria Police deputy commissioner Graham Ashton.
News Ltd reports that review was prompted by an Office of Police Integrity recommendation last year that the brief of evidence be reviewed to ensure all relevant evidence had been properly recorded and retained.
The alleged victim, then a student, 19, claimed to police she was raped in a darkened bedroom of Milne's teammate Leigh Montagna's Highett home after celebrations for St Kilda's family day in 2004.
Milne and Montagna have consistently protested their innocence.
In a statement, Victoria Police confirmed that a a 33 year-old man from Cheltenham with four counts of rape following an alleged incident in 2004.
He will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on 5 July, 2013.
"The decision to charge follows an extensive review of the initial investigation by specialist detectives within our Sexual Crimes Squad,'' the statement said.
"That review was prompted by an OPI recommendation last year that the brief of evidence be reviewed to ensure all relevant evidence had been properly recorded and retained.
"As we have previously made clear, it is a matter of regret that this review found the initial investigation to have been substantially inadequate.
"As a result, further inquiries have been conducted by the Sexual Crimes Squad and after consulting with the Office of Public Prosecutions, the decision has been made to lay charges
"In recent years Victoria Police have implemented substantial reforms and improvements to our sex crimes investigative processes which has enabled a number of older investigations to be reviewed, offenders identified and charges laid.
"It is unfortunate for all parties concerned that this matter has taken so many years to progress, but having discussed with the alleged victim in this matter, we can confirm that our decision to lay charges accords with her wishes.
"It is now important that the defendant in this matter be afforded the same procedural fairness any other member of the community would expect in these circumstances.
"Victoria Police will be providing no further comment at this time and until the matter has run its course through the normal legal process. ''