A 21-year-old man accused of repeatedly raping the “vulnerable” woman he was caring for will be released on bail despite police concerns he could threaten witnesses or flee the country.
The man from Brisbane’s south, who was employed as the disabled woman’s carer at the time of the alleged offences, was charged on Sunday with raping the 27-year-old woman 21 times and another eight assault counts.
He appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday morning, where police prosecutor Sergeant Aydina Pugh alleged he had also threatened the Albany Creek woman.
The court heard details of the alleged offending only emerged when the victim went to Kenya and confided in a friend there.
Sergeant Pugh said she would still have concerns over bail even if the Kenyan man’s passport was surrendered.
“There will still be concerns for the threats that he made to the victim, which has happened over a period of time,” she said.
“Possibly (they) may have resulted in the delay in reporting these matters to police, but that is only an assumption that I can make. I won’t take that any further.”
The court heard the man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was studying on a four-year student visa.
Defence lawyer Mark Schofield said the man lived with his sister in Algester and had been in the country for about 12 months.
“In my submission there’s no suggestion without passport he’s someone … who is able to flee,” he said.
The accused allegedly raped the woman repeatedly in her home over the course of five months, from July to November last year.
Dressed in prison-issue tracksuit and jumper, black curly hair cut short and barefoot, the defendant sat with his arms folded for most of the appearance, slightly slumped as he watched proceedings.
Magistrate John McGrath labelled the allegations a “significant betrayal of trust” given the complainant was “quite a vulnerable person”.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said investigations had begun about Christmas time.
Magistrate McGrath decided there was not an unreasonable risk of the 21-year-old fleeing or intimidating witnesses, so long as several bail conditions were imposed.
Sergeant Pugh had initially sought to adjourn the matter until Tuesday in order to clarify visa conditions with the Australian Border Force.
He was granted bail on the condition he would surrender his passport, not have any contact with the alleged victim or witnesses, not go within 300 metres of an international departure point and regularly report to police.