Jar­ratt rape trial date set

The Gympie Times - - NATION -

WOLF Creek star John Jar­ratt will have to wait un­til July next year to try to clear his name over a his­tor­i­cal rape al­le­ga­tion fol­low­ing a de­lay by pros­e­cu­tors.

The 66-year-old ac­tor is ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a woman at a house in Rand­wick, in Syd­ney’s eastern sub­urbs, in Septem­ber 1976.

He has stren­u­ously de­nied the claim and was due to en­ter a plea at Downing Cen­tre Dis­trict Court yes­ter­day.

But the judge was told pros­e­cu­tors wouldn’t be ready to serve the in­dict­ment un­til 2019. The ac­tor will now be ar­raigned on Fe­bru­ary 1.

A five-day trial has been set from July 1.

Jar­ratt pleaded not guilty in Downing Cen­tre Lo­cal Court last week. Lawyer Bryan Wrench pre­vi­ously told a lo­cal court “noth­ing less than a not guilty ver­dict” at trial will sat­isfy his client.

The Dis­trict Court was told yes­ter­day the charge cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sheet hadn’t been pre­pared, with the prose­cu­tor spec­u­lat­ing it could be be­cause staff were tak­ing leave over the De­cem­ber-Jan­uary pe­riod.

“I’m very dis­ap­pointed the Crown is not ready,” Judge He­len Symes said. “I hope none of those crowns want to be judges one day be­cause we aren’t tak­ing leave.”

Set­ting a trial date can waive au­to­matic sen­tence dis­counts avail­able to an ac­cused even if they plead guilty be­fore that trial is heard. Mr Wench said the ac­tor was “ab­so­lutely” aware of those risks.

Ac­tor John Jar­ratt.

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