Two police officers have been released on bail in Mackay after being charged with raping a woman while on duty.
The constables, aged 28 and 29, were charged after an internal police investigation. Little information about the crime itself has been released. But it is apparent there were at least 38 witnesses.
The officers have been released on bail under condition they report to the district head of the Police Force and stay away from the witnesses.
Despite the severity of the charges — which includes five counts of rape, one count of assault with intent to rape, and deprivation of liberty — Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart’s comment was that the “raising of these allegations is disappointing”.
This is “because it does impact on the trust that the community has with us.”
He didn’t acknowledge the victim, or explain how he would address the allegations that police may have committed rape while on duty.
Several off-duty police officers attended the bail hearing in support of the accused.
Terry O’Gorman from the Australian Council for Civil Liberties said the lack of information about the circumstances of the crime is out of step with how the law applied to others.
“The public are entitled to full details as to where, how and when and under what circumstances these on-duty rapes are alleged to have occurred.
“We cannot have a continuation of a system which has developed under the current Police Minister where a citizen is arrested and great detail is published even before they appear in court.
“But when a police officer is under investigation, very little detail is published.”
The case is due to be heard again in May. It progresses while a Logan resident, Sheila Oakley, tries to seek justice after police tasered her in the eye at her home, blinding her. Three police were also filmed beating a man outside a prominent gay bar in Brisbane CBD in December.