SERVING JUSTICE: The Emerald Courthouse. cm-011210-002
SERVING JUSTICE: The Emerald Courthouse. cm-011210-002

Rape trial back to square one

THE district court jury empanelled to hear the trial of three males accused of raping a woman in Emerald in October, 2008, was sensationally dismissed last Friday morning.

Central Queensland News has been legally prohibited from reporting on the details of an incident which led to Judge Grant Britton’s dismissal of the eight men and four women, but can report the trial will be reopened on February 14, 2011.

Two males, aged 17 at the time, and a third male, then 16 years of age, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty to three charges each of rape.

One of the 17-year-olds also pleaded not guilty to a charge of unlawful and indecent assault.

In a full week of courtroom proceedings, Emerald District Court heard two-and-a-half days of testimony and cross examination from the female in closed court, as well as expert DNA analysis of the persons involved and items found at the scene of the incident.

The court also heard testimony from first responding officers from Emerald police and criminal investigation branch.

In his opening statement, Crown Prosecutor Shaun Gordon told of the events on October 2, 2008.

Mr Gordon said the female had been at her farewell party in Lorraway Street, drinking with some friends before getting food from the Pines Takeaway shop.

Walking through Morton Park on her way home, the three males allegedly raped the female before leaving her alone in the park.

However, through testimony heard from police witnesses, the female could not definitively recall if it was three or four males.

DNA evidence taken from the scene and the persons involved matched at least two of the males and the female.

Samples taken from one male were inconclusive but could not definitively exclude him from being involved.

The court also heard first responding officer, Senior Constable Daniel Laas, had recorded interactions between officers and people at the Lorraway Street party, however, the jury was dismissed before the recording was heard.

Additionally, Sergeant Jenny Jenkins testified to the emotional scene she and Snr Const Laas found at the party, as well as discovery of items in Morton Park which were submitted into evidence.

Senior Detective Colin Harvey was set to continue testifying on Friday morning under questions from Mr Gordon when the jury was dismissed.

Defense counsels Ross LoMonaco and Jeff Clarke successfully applied for recorded interviews to be exempted from evidence during the trial.

On Thursday morning last week, the jury performed a walk of key locations heard throughout the trial. Photographs of the female’s clothes taken by police shortly after the incident were submitted to the court as exhibits.

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