Two sisters told police their stepfather had raped them, but nothing was done for a decade.
Two sisters told police their stepfather had raped them, but nothing was done for a decade.

Queensland police put rape case on hold for 10 years

A RAPE case involving children was sat on by Queensland police for 10 years despite the victims giving detailed accounts of the abuse.

Following a shock court ruling, it can be revealed a stepfather convicted of raping his two stepdaughters was able to drive children around in a PCYC bus despite the victims making statements to Queensland police a decade earlier.

The stepfather, a former council worker who cannot be named, was sentenced to 14 years' jail after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing the young girls between 1986 and 1997 at various family homes across Townsville.

This week, the Supreme Court of Queensland ordered the stepfather be retried after he argued there were flaws in his 2018 trial and that they hindered his chance of acquittal.

The online judgment revealed the man's two stepdaughters, Emily* and Jane*, had given statements at Townsville Police Station 10 years before charges were laid.

During the 2018 trial, evidence was given that Townsville police officer Benjamin Hunter took the women's statements in November 2006 and told them he would be in touch. But neither woman heard from Queensland police for 10 years.

No further steps were taken until 2016, when the sisters, "angry and wanting answers", phoned the officer after Jane had seen their stepfather driving a PCYC bus with children on it who "could not talk".

During the trial, the court was told the officer had placed the investigation on hold because Jane had wanted to move house before the investigation proceeded.

The stepfather was charged in 2016 for the abuse, which the Crown alleged spanned 11 years. It was alleged Emily was four when her stepfather began abusing her, forcing her to perform oral sex, and when she was seven, raping her because she was a "big girl now".

Jane alleged that from 13, her stepfather raped her while forcing her to watch porn.

In 2018, the stepfather was jailed but appealed the conviction on the grounds some of the evidence was insufficient, while other evidence was inadmissable and prejudicial.

The Supreme Court of Queensland acquitted the stepfather of one charge of indecent treatment of a child and ordered he be retried on six counts of rape, five indecent treatment of a child charges and one of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child.

He will receive a new trial at a date to be fixed.

*Not the sisters' real names

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.