Toowoomba, Qld: High-profile man charged with rape gets suppression order

A high-profile man who is charged with raping a woman has been granted a temporary suppression order protecting his identity despite an imminent change to Queensland laws.

Police charged the man with two counts of rape in January, alleging they stemmed from an incident in Toowoomba back in October 2021. He has not been committed to stand trial.

Under current laws in Queensland preventing the identification of people charged with sexual assault or rape offences until they stand trial, the man has not been named or formally identified.

The laws are set to change on Tuesday, with new laws passed in September allowing the naming of accused sex offenders once they are charged.

The legislation allows people charged to apply for an interim non-publication order which will maintain their anonymity.

On Friday the man’s lawyer obtained an interim order in the Supreme Court of Queensland prohibiting any “identifying matter”.

In a decision published on Friday, Queensland Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth AM said the man intended to apply for a suppression order under the new laws “as soon as practicable”.

“The applicant seeks a temporary order from this Court to preserve the status quo until his application for an interim order in the Magistrates Court can be heard and determined,” Justice Applegarth said.

Justice Applegarth said the committal proceeding had “attracted publicity”, leading to “substantial risk” the high-profile man’s identity would be published as early as Tuesday.

He said it would be “contrary to the interests of justice” if he were to not allow the application.

“The applicant’s right to apply … should not be defeated by such publicity,” the judge said.

“Without such a temporary order … his statutory right to apply for an [interim] order would be rendered nugatory and the application would have no utility.”

Earlier this year several media organisations, including News Corp Australia, unsuccessfully applied to the court seeking permission to name the man in the proceedings.

That application remains before the courts.

Lawyer Rowan King, acting for the man, fronted court last week where the matter was adjourned for six weeks.

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