Boy on attempted rape charge two weeks after bail
A 14-YEAR-OLD boy accused of trying to rape a backpacker had been on bail for two weeks and living in a suburban halfway house before he allegedly dragged another woman into bushes in a terrifying night-time attack and tried to do it again.
The teen is understood to have been sharing a bail house in a northern Cairns suburb with another alleged juvenile sex offender and a teen accused of robbery.
Police have alleged he attacked a woman aged in her 30s walking home about 8pm on Thursday, dragging her into bushes and ripping off clothing before she managed to fight him off and flee.
In an almost identical alleged incident in late July, he allegedly dragged a 26-year-old tourist behind a Cairns North business late at night, tearing the woman's clothes off and sexually assaulting her before she fought him off.
The alleged attacks have left police and community leaders fuming over the decision to release him, with one officer, who did not wish to be named, labelling it "absolutely appalling".
It has also reignited calls for urgent reform to the Labor government's controversial bail house program, which has been the subject of two scathing and costly reports and the LNP had vowed to scrap it had it been elected.
Child Safety, Youth and Women Minister Di Farmer said she could not comment on the matter because it was before court.
"Bail is a matter for police and the courts," she said.
"In June 2020, the Queensland parliament passed legislation to strengthen the law so that young offenders that are an unacceptable risk to community safety must be refused bail."
But shadow attorney-general David Janetzki called the alleged incident "deeply concerning".
"Whether it be bail houses, the repeat offending of juveniles or the law itself, the system under this Labor government is failing to protect the community," he said.
"Put simply, the system is broken."
It is understood the boy was initially remanded in custody in July, but granted bail two weeks ago by Cairns Magistrate Sandra Pearson to await trial for that alleged offending.
This was despite being charged with intent to rape, attempted rape and sexual assault, and police objecting to his release amid concerns for community safety.
He was remanded in custody again by Ms Pearson on Friday.
It is understood the boy had no previous criminal history prior to the alleged attacks.
He was taken into custody at a nearby residence about an hour after Thursday night's alleged attack.
A police spokesman confirmed the boy was charged with assault with intent to commit rape and attempt to commit rape, and was due to appear in the Cairns Children's Court.
This latest alleged attack comes less than a year after a 17-year-old Cape York male raped an Edmonton woman in her home after he was moved to a bail house in that suburb for prior sex-offending charges in Cooktown.
That offender was handed a seven-year jail sentence in the Cairns District Court in September with two of his victims calling for bail not to be granted for sex offenders.
Originally published as Appalling': Boy, 14, on attempted rape charge two weeks after bail