April 10, 2024

A hearing of rape charges against Moffatdale businessman Joe Prendergast faces further delays after police indicated some information requested by his defence team would not be handed over without a court order.

As well, some of the information requested did not exist, Police Prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens told Murgon Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Acting Magistrate Anna Smith ordered a directions hearing be held from 10:00am on May 1 to determine whether the items requested be made available to the defence solicitors.

Sgt Stevens said it was a complex investigation and police had already disclosed hundreds of documents after four requests made for more information over several months.

“In total I think there’s are about three or four items we are declining to disclose for different reasons,” Sgt Stevens said.

“They want unredacted camera footage. We’re not going to disclose that without a court order because the witness talks about a personal problem he has, a medical issue, and even as a witness he’s still entitled to his medical privacy.

“Another, we simply don’t know where the witness is. We believe she’s in Western Australia.”

Sgt Stevens said he understood the defence also wanted the arresting officer to give evidence, but that would not be opposed.

The defence team sent further requests for more information to police on March 11 and March 20.

Sgt Stevens said some of these latest items had already been mailed or emailed, leaving “three, four or maybe five” items in dispute to be determined on May 1.

Summons had also been served on the Department of Education, Department of Child Safety, Medicare and Telstra to produce information on the same day.

Sgt Stevens said the issue about the medical records related to a motorcycle accident involving one of the complainants on Prendergast’s property.

“It’s not related to any charge whatsoever but they are after those medical records and we’re saying there’s no relevance,” he said.

Prendergast faces 16 charges: 11 counts of rape as well as two charges of sexual assault, two charges of indecent treatment of children under the age of 16, and one charge of attempted indecent treatment of a child under 16 (procure to commit).

He was originally charged in June last year.