“Unjustified” delay for an accused official…

“Unjustified” delay for an accused official…

Investigations into a senior official accused of child sex trafficking have been delayed due to a “broken” device used to access cellphone data.

The alleged attacker was not present in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday, having previously been released on bail to live in Tasmania. The man’s identity cannot be released for legal reasons.

He faces 10 charges, including two counts of domestic trafficking of a child with intent to provide sexual services or other exploitation, as well as two counts each of having sexual intercourse with a child in special care, sexual intercourse with a child and committing an indecent act on or in the presence of a young person.

The man, aged around 40, is also charged with one count of production of child pornography and possession of child exploitation material.

The charges relate to alleged crimes committed between 2013 and 2017 against a teenage girl.

It is not known whether he pleaded guilty.

The man, a senior public servant, is accused of transporting the girl from Canberra to Maroubra and Campbelltown on two occasions.

He is also accused of raping the alleged victim four times and producing child sexual abuse images of her.

The man, whose identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons, has already left the court. Photo by Hannah Neale

On Tuesday, a prosecutor told the court that a dossier of evidence had not yet been finalized.

She said the pending files included documents relating to the official’s work email and data from a forensic extraction device, known as a Cellebrite machine.

The lawyer said the child abuse and sexual assault team’s device was “out of service” and several attempts to extract information from the man’s phone had failed.

“It is indeed broken,” the prosecutor told the court.

“(The phone data is part of) a broad investigation and violations spanning a five-year period.”

She said the case had been adjourned in the past for this reason but the machine had now been sent for repair.

In a bail application in November 2023, the prosecutor said that “a significant amount of data needs to be analysed, which may give rise to new offences and new lines of investigation”.

The alleged child sex trafficker is expected back in court in August.

  • Support is available for those in distress. Call Lifeline 13 11 14; beyondblue 1300 224 636; 1800-RESPECT 1800 737 732; Canberra Rape Crisis Centre 6247 2525.