Youth accused of rape after online meeting

A YOUTH accused of twice raping an 18-year-old female after they first met online, strongly denies her claims, in a Judge-alone trial now underway in Ipswich Children's Court.

The trial became complex when the female was ordered to self-isolate under COVID-19 health provisions after she returned from a weekend trip to Victoria.

On landing back from Melbourne she was ordered by Queensland health authorities to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Faced with adjourning the trial, Judge Dennis Lynch QC agreed to a Crown prosecution application that as a special witness the now 20- year-old be allowed to give her evidence via -video link.

The accused, now aged 18, pleaded not guilty to two committing counts of rape in the Ipswich area early on the morning of July 14, 2018 when he was aged 16 ½.

At the start of the delayed trial Crown prosecutor Amanda Robinson told the court the delay was due to the female travelling to Victoria over the weekend then being issued on her return with a self-isolation direction because of COVID.

As a result of the quarantine she would now have to give evidence via audiovisual link. And a member of her family also due to give evidence was also in self-quarantine as an abundance of caution.

No application to adjourn the legal proceedings was made by either the prosecution or defence representatives.

Judge Lynch made the required order finding it to be appropriate and that she not appear in the courtroom.

Defence barrister Sophie Harburg said that with credibility of the witness being an important factor, it was unfortunate she could not appear in person.

In opening the Crown case Ms Robinson said the female met the youth when they began chatting online in 2018.

She was aged 18, the youth 16 ½ and they soon began chatting via text messages.

"The tenor of their chat changed and they were to meet in person for sexual activity to occur," Ms Robinson said.

"They met the day before (the alleged offences) and hung out for a short while."

Ms Robinson said they met up again the next day and after going to the Willowbank Raceway that night the female stayed at his house and they had consensual intercourse.

At 2am on July 14 the female sent a text message to her family.

The youth then did a sexual act (first alleged rape) which she resisted. Then after she fell asleep he is alleged to have raped her.

Ms Robinson said text messages were later exchanged between them which would also from part of the Crown case.

The female sent a text stating: "You know you probably sexually assaulted me. I kept saying no."

Accused: "I did nothing wrong."

Female: "You did. I said stop but you didn't."

Accused: "I'm sorry".

The Crown made application that the courtroom be closed to hear the female's evidence.

Judge Lynch closed the court. The trial continues.

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