Court photo   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Court photo Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK221012ccourt6

Questions raised about nature of investigation in rape trial

QUESTIONS surrounding the police investigation of an alleged rape of a teenager have been raised during the trial.

A Rockhampton man is on trial accused of sexually assaulting and raping his 16-year-old house cleaner before and during a massage after she cleaned his house one day in 2017.

Defence barrister Ross Lo Monaco questioned one of the two investigating officers during the trial on Friday after the jury watched the recording of the defendant's interview with police.

The 57-year-old defendant told police he asked the teen multiple times if she was ok, asked if it was ok for him to massage certain parts of her body, which she replied 'yes' before he proceeded, asked her if she could take of clothing items in the way of the massage, which she verbally said 'yes' before taking off the clothing item.

He told police he had massaged his brothers, children and other family members over the years and had been told he had 'magic hands' and should consider massaging as a full-time job.

The man said there was nothing sexual about the massage, but there was a bit of flirtatious banter between the two of them.

"It seems to me to be very sexual,” one police officer commented during the interview.

The defendant explained clothing gets in the way of massaging certain areas and that he had massaged the buttocks and thigh areas because he found, in his experience, that was where a person got "a lot of release”.

He denied touching the teen's breasts or vagina, or penetrating her.

"She alleges you touched her vagina in the kitchen,” the officer said.

"That's a complete fabrication,” the defendant said.

"I'm shocked to hear that.”

"Did your hand come in contact with her vagina?” the officer asked.

"I don't believe so,” the defendant replied.

After the jury watched the recording, Mr Lo Monaco asked one of the officers from the video some questions.

During this questioning, the court heard the teen was related to someone who worked at the Rockhampton police station, that she made the complaint five months after the massage, that police interviewed the defendant days afterwards but before the teen made her official statement and that the usual procedure was to interview suspects or accused persons after the official statement was made.

"It's normal to take the statement before doing the interview,” the officer told the court.

The court also heard that the teen's friend, who she allegedly told about the massage incident on the day of the incident, is the daughter of a police officer.

"Were you aware of that?,” Mr Lo Monaco asked the officer.

"Yes,” the officer replied.

"Is it the case that your offsider (police partner) was proceeding at a faster rate than normal in this investigation because of the connections to police?” Mr Lo Monaco asked the officer.

"I couldn't tell you why he did the interview before completing the statement,” the officer said.

"Essentially, you were there as a corroborating police officer?” Mr Lo Monaco said.

"Yes,” the officer replied.

After the questions, the crown case concluded.

The trial continues on Monday.



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