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High-profile man accused of rape: prosecutors sifting through ‘thousands of pages’ of alleged victim’s phone data

A committal hearing for a high-profile man accused of two charges of rape in Toowoomba has been adjourned for six weeks as prosecutors trawl through phone records of the alleged victim.

The man is accused of two counts of raping a woman in the regional Queensland city west of Brisbane in 2021 in a case that has been inching through committal hearings in the Toowoomba magistrates court since January.

His defence lawyer, Rowan King had previously requested the complainant provide 19 months of phone data, including six months of data before the date of the alleged offence.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Dreghorn sought a four-week adjournment last month after police agreed to provide the prosecution with data. The crown would not be disclosing any material until they’ve reviewed the data themselves, she said.

On Wednesday, crown prosecutor Nicole Friedewald said her team was still reviewing the phone records which she said covered “many thousands of pages”.

“The prosecution is currently working through that material in order to satisfy disclosure obligation,” she told magistrate Kyna Morice.

“There remains some 800 or so pages left to review before disclosure can be completed.”

After Friedewald sought an adjournment, King suggested six weeks, which was accepted by the magistrate.

The next hearing was set for 1 November, at which King was again granted leave to appear by phone. The accused man is on bail and has not been required to attend the Toowoomba court.

There was no mention in court about whether King still plans to seek a non-publication order to suppress his client’s name once new Queensland laws come into effect in a fortnight.

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Under existing law in the state, a person accused of sexual offence cannot be named until they have been committed to stand trial – but that is set to change from 3 October.

New laws passed last Wednesday in Queensland parliament will allow the naming of accused sex offenders after they are charged, bringing Queensland into line with most other states and territories.

The laws will apply retrospectively, meaning they potentially could apply to the Toowoomba case.

In court last month, King flagged he intended to seek a non-publication order to maintain his client’s anonymity ahead of the reforms.

But no mention of that order was made in the magistrates court on Wednesday.

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