20 October 2023

Numerous details suppressed after man accused of abusing daughters

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts

Numerous details in the case were suppressed in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to alleged child sexual abuse.

A man has been charged over historical allegations of child sex offences, accusing him of sexually abusing his two daughters over a six-year period.

He answered “not guilty” when he was read one count of incest and two counts of committing an act of indecency on a young person in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (20 October).

He is accused of sexually abusing them when they were aged between 10 and 14.

ACT Policing said officers had heard about these allegations via an online report for historical sexual assault earlier this year before beginning an investigation.

Special Magistrate Sean Richter suppressed numerous details in the case on Friday, including the man’s identity, age, occupation and locality, as well as when the alleged abuse occurred, and the names of any of the witnesses or the daughters.

The daughters’ identities were already automatically suppressed under statutory law.

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The man’s lawyer, Paul Edmonds of Canberra Criminal Lawyers, had asked for a non-publication order on his client’s name, arguing there was a very real risk the complainants would be indirectly identified without such an order.

The prosecutor did not oppose bail, although there was a dispute over some of the proposed bail conditions, including a concern about him talking to his family members.

Mr Edmonds said his client’s second wife had already spoken to police and given them a statement. She fully supported his bail application and had no concerns for herself.

The lawyer said having a bail condition that meant his client could not discuss the allegations with his wife was unrealistic and set him up to fail.

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The prosecutor said her main concern was interference with witnesses because, as the man had only been arrested on Thursday, police hadn’t had time to get statements from his other family members.

Special Magistrate Richter ultimately imposed conditions that included the man not talk to anyone about the allegations except for his wife and that he not be alone with anyone under the age of 18, with an exception for one particular family member once they had been interviewed by police. He must also surrender his passport.

Bail was granted and the matter was adjourned for a pre-hearing mention in early 2024.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact 1800RESPECT, the national domestic and sexual violence support service, by calling 1800 737 732.

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