North Queensland corrections officer charged with rape

 

A NORTH Queensland corrections officer allegedly raped a colleague after a boozy social event with work mates.

The woman was hit with rape and sexual assault charges after the alleged incident at an after work social event a group of employees attended.

In an email sighted by the Townsville Bulletin, Corrective Services sent a letter to staff last week advising a staff member was charged with a criminal offence.

The email was sent by Acting Chief Superintendent Louise Kneeshaw, who stepped into the prison's top job after former general manager Peter Hall was stood down last year over allegations he had "inappropriate relationships" with a staff member.

In the email, Supt Kneeshaw said the alleged offence happened outside the workplace.

"As you would understand and appreciate it is not appropriate at this time for there to be any commentary or discussion in the workplace in relation to this matter," the internal email read.

Acting Chief Superintendent Louise Kneeshaw pictured at Townsville Correctional Centre. Sup Kneeshaw emailed staff about the incident last week. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR
Acting Chief Superintendent Louise Kneeshaw pictured at Townsville Correctional Centre. Sup Kneeshaw emailed staff about the incident last week. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR

"As per a previous email I again reiterate my expectation that as a QCS employees (sic), it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet your obligation in terms of workplace behaviour and interpersonal conduct.

"You must be aware that where officer behaviour, such as those described above, are discovered, QCS will investigate these and where findings are made that staff have breached their obligations, will consider disciplinary action."

It is understood, the victim, also a woman, has since quit her Corrections job and relocated to another region with her boyfriend.

The woman, who cannot be named, made the announcement to her colleagues via Facebook.

"This has not been an easy choice and there have certainly been mitigating factors for and against this decision," the announcement read.

"I have so much respect for the job you all do, however I no longer have the energy to give and need to consider the impact the place has had on my mental wellbeing going forward."

The accused woman fronted the Townsville Magistrates Court on January 6 for the first time charged with one count each of rape and sexual assault.

During the brief appearance, the woman, who cannot be named, was supported by two people.

Under Queensland law, someone accused of rape cannot be identified until the case is admitted to a higher court.

Her lawyer, Jarred Mace of Shuttleworth Legal, flagged that the matter would need to proceed to a higher court.

Magistrate Ken Taylor ordered prosecutions to compile the police brief of evidence against the accused.

The court was told a number of witness statements would need to be put together.

The case against the woman, who is on bail, will return to court for committal mention in early February.

The Queensland Corrections Department was contacted for comment.

Originally published as North Queensland corrections officer charged with rape



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