Magistrate closes court while complainant gives evidence

UPDATE:

MAGISTRATE Ron Muirhead has closed the court in relation to a committal hearing for two former police officers accused of rape while on duty.

The defence lawyers representing the two defendants argued against the media being present in the Mackay Magistrates Court this morning.

The two men, who were both constables with Queensland Police Service, are each charged with five counts of rape, one count of deprivation of liberty and one count of assault with intent to commit rape.

Prosecution initially had no issue to the media being present, on the proviso the court was closed while the complainant gave evidence, the court was told.

However, the prosecutor, on hearing the defence submission, agreed with them.

The media has asked to be present while five other witnesses give evidence and for any legal argument given.

After Mr Muirhead closed the court it was reopened and he clarified the media could be present for any legal argument.

A representative from the media asked to be heard over the decision to close the court and requested Mr Muirhead revise his earlier decision to close the court.

The court is currently closed while the complainant gives evidence.

Submissions for the court to be open for the remaining witnesses will resume at 1.30pm.
 

EARLIER:

TWO Queensland police officers charged with raping a woman while on duty will face a committal hearing today.

The men, both in their late 20s, are each charged with five counts of rape and one count each of assault with intent to commit rape and deprivation of liberty.

The two constables first appeared in court on February 7 this year.

It's alleged they raped a woman while on duty in Mackay in February.

The pair, who can't be named for legal reasons, will face a committal hearing in the Mackay Magistrates Court on today and tomorrow, a court official says.

The officers were suspended from the force when the charges were laid although one quit beforehand.

Police commissioner Ian Stewart said when the rape allegations came to light that he was "disappointed" in the alleged actions of two police officers and has asked the Mackay community to have faith in remaining officers policing the area.

Mr Stewart would not discuss any details related to the case itself, saying the matter was before the courts and he feared the victim could be identified.

"An extensive and comprehensive criminal investigation is underway which will focus on all aspects of this incident," he said.

"I would ask the people of Mackay to please understand that and to await the outcome of the court matters."


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