The man accused of raping a three-year-old boy in his front yard did not apply for bail and will remain in jail following a court appearance this morning, as accusations of police secrecy around the incident continued.
The 21-year-old man originally appeared in court yesterday, but the case was held over while court officials sought an interpreter from the Aboriginal Interpreter Service to explain the charge against him. He cannot be named at this stage for legal reasons.
He is facing one count of sexual intercourse without consent after it is alleged he sexually assaulted a toddler while the child played in his front yard in Karama on Thursday.
The NT Police took four days to inform the public of the horrific incident and only then after the NT Independent first reported it on Sunday, despite police media manager Rob Cross ignoring questions.
NT Children’s Commissioner Sally Sievers told the ABC the NT Government did not provide her with information about the alleged rape of the child in a “timely manner” and that she will be investigating further.
“The [Office of the Children’s Commissioner] has received on request information from Territory Families though not in the timely manner we would have expected,” Ms Sievers said in a statement.
“The OCC will conduct a preliminary inquiry into this case.”
NT Police say horrific sex crime not in the public interest, only ‘instant gratification’
Meanwhile, NT Police said they acted appropriately at all times in how they dealt with the incident, claiming it was not “common practice” to inform the public, and that police felt releasing the information about the incident was not in the public interest.
“I think there’s a distinct difference between what’s in the public interest and what’s just interesting to the public,” Commander Martin Dole said on Mix 104.9.
He added the offender was arrested shortly after the incident and that protecting the privacy of the victim was their chief concern.
Cmdr Dole then claimed releasing information about the incident would only have served as “instant gratification” for the public.
“It’s not common practice to put this stuff out in the media instantly for everyone else’s gratification,” he said.
However, the incident has upset parents across the region and rattled senior investigators.
Cmdr Dole did not explain why the police media unit did not release a statement about the serious matter on Friday or why they ignored media questions on Sunday.
The alleged rapist’s charge will now be heard in the Supreme Court. The man is next scheduled to appear on May 12.