The identity of a high profile man charged with the rape of a woman will remain protected, despite a Magistrate finding a non-publication order preventing media outlets from naming him should be revoked.
Media outlets, including NCA NewsWire, had sought the removal of the non-publication order allowing his identity to be published following laws in Queensland concerning the naming of people charged with rape or sexual assault offences being changed.
Police charged the man with two counts of rape in January.
The charges stem from an alleged incident in Toowoomba in October 2021.
Earlier this month, Queensland parliament changed a key piece of legislation which had previously prevented the identification of those charged with rape or sexual assault offences prior to their committal.
But the man’s lawyers successfully applied to the Supreme Court for a non-publication order preventing their client from being named days before the change kicked in.
Lawyers for the man on Friday sought the order to be continued during a hearing at Toowoomba Magistrates Court.
While the order was refused following a decision by Magistrate Clare Kelly, the man’s barrister, Andrew Hoare, successfully sought a temporary stay of the order in the court to lodge further proceedings in a higher court.
The man’s legal team has until 4pm next Tuesday to lodge the appeal.
A further application asking the court to seal parts of an affidavit filed for the high profile man was refused.
Throughout the hearing, Mr Hoare had argued there was a “real existing risk of harm” to his client if his identity were to be published.
He said the man suffered from “severe” suicidal ideation that had manifested over years.
Mr Hoare said his client could be in grave danger of attempting self-harm, which he submitted necessitated the order continuing.
Robert Anderson KC, representing the media outlets, had told the court the high profile man had not given evidence before the court, instead relying on his solicitors and his psychologist.
He noted the man was prepared to go public with certain statements but was “unprepared” to face the court and give evidence himself.
Mr Anderson said the defendant had “no automatic right to protection” under the recent amendments to the legislation.
“The complainant’s voice is important to be heard,” he said.
“She wants the defendant to be named. It is not neutral, it is an active voice.”
Mr Anderson referred to several public statements given by the high-profile man.
“There is an incredulity between the applicant’s public presentation and what is said by … (his) doctor,” he said.
“It was irreconcilable.
“The applicant has not said anything to Your Honour directly. He has chosen to stay 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 also said the man was attempting to deny the complainant’s Voice.
“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.
“His lawyers have told him to stay quiet, he has refused that advice.
“He wants to be heard – everywhere except here.”
In her ruling Magistrate Kelly noted the man was not linked with a mental health professional and was not taking medication.
“That is a decision made by the defendant,” she said.
The court was told alternative arrangements like judge-alone trials could be made should the defendant be committed to stand trial, thereby combating any issues with juries.