Toowoomba: Identity of high profile man charged with rape to remain secret after major court ruling

The identity of a high profile man charged with the rape of a woman will continue to remain protected after a sweeping non-publication order on his name was continued.

Tuesday’s development follows lawyers for the man lodging proceedings in Brisbane’s Supreme Court just days after a magistrate found an existing non-publication order protecting his identity should be lifted.

The man is charged with two counts of rape which police allege stem from an incident in Toowoomba back in 2021.

Until this month, Queensland laws that prevented the identification of those charged with rape or sexual assault offences meant the man could not be named until he was committed to stand trial.

The state government recently revoked parts of a key piece of legislation, thereby revoking this protection.

However, before the changes took effect, the man’s lawyers successfully applied to the Supreme Court for a non-publication order allowing their client to remain protected from identification until arguments could be heard in Magistrates Court about whether the order should remain in place.

Following a lengthy hearing at Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Friday, that order was revoked by Magistrate Clare Kelly.

In her decision, she found there was no justification to keep the order in place and the evidence tendered in support of the man did not establish the order was necessary to protect his safety.

At the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the man’s barrister Andrew Hoare submitted Magistrate Kelly had erred in determining there was no risk of harm that would come to any other person.

He also submitted that the magistrate took other matters not relevant to proceedings into account while making her decision.

The court was told a transcript of the proceedings, as well as an audio file, was not available to legal representatives.

Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth asked how this was possible, noting other media outlets had likely recorded Friday’s proceedings.

He noted he received an email at 3.43pm on Monday seeking directions to “determine the matter as quickly as possible.”

“I’m exploring why it can’t be promptly decided,” he said.

“You’ve had since Friday to prepare for a judicial review.”

Justice Applegarth adjourned proceedings until October 26, ordering a temporary stay of the non-publication order until that date.

During Friday’s proceedings in Toowoomba, the man’s legal team argued their client would be at a substantial risk of self-harm should his identity be published.

Robert Anderson KC, representing several media outlets including News Corp Australia, told the court on Friday the man had not turned up to give evidence before the sitting magistrate.

He said the high profile man had instead relied on his solicitors and psychologist to tender evidence on his behalf, noting the man appeared to be “staying silent”.

Mr Anderson submitted the defendant was ready to speak his own truth but was still asking this court to prevent the public from knowing who he is and prevent open justice.

“He has voluntarily placed himself in a very public forum, in a way that will inevitably expose and require him to explain … all of his circumstances,” Mr Anderson said.

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