Alleged victim notes similarities

THE victim of an alleged sexual assault by a high school principal said media reports of another case involving the same accused had similarities to her own experience.

The mother of the victim was under cross-examination in the District Court trial of former St Andrew’s Christian Community School principal Frank Bailey in Grafton yesterday.

She told the court that she and her daughter had read an account of last year’s trial in a newspaper and noted that a part of the report, where Bailey had told his victim to keep quiet about what had happened between them, was similar to her experience.

In this case it is alleged that Bailey drugged and sexually assaulted the girl, then aged 14, when she was staying at his family home over a two-week period in 2006.

The witness said that prior to reading that article, her daughter had never mentioned anything that indicated that anything illegal might have occurred at the Bailey home during her visit there in 2006.

The defence also quizzed the witness about the possibility that her daughter was aware of civil action against the school and was supporting that case with her allegations, an assertion she denied vigorously.

“To begin with I just wanted the school to be accountable for its lack of duty of care and be responsible for what happened,” she said.

“If I could have done that without resorting to money, I would.”

The court also heard from the police officer heading the investigation, detective senior constable Anthony Farrell.

He told the court that the investigation had been shut down in late 2008 because the witness was reluctant to volunteer information.

He said that when it reopened, he met the girl in June last year.

He assessed that she was not emotionally ready for the rigours of a police investigation and decided against interviewing her.

However, she handed the detective an envelope containing three hand-written pages with instructions to read them while she was not present.

These pages were included in the girl’s record of interview, which was held in closed court.

The deputy principal of the school at the time, David Johnson, now a head teacher at the Pacific Valley Christian School, was also called.

His evidence mainly concerned an internal investigation of allegations against Bailey heard at the school run by solicitors hired by the school’s governing body, the Presbyterian Church.

He was questioned whether it was appropriate whether the girl was required to give a statement to this inquiry without the knowledge of the parents.

He was also asked about his role as a support person with two of the girls at the inquiry.

He continually said he could not remember details of the inquiry.

But he did admit under cross examination that he believed that general feeling from the alleged victim’s interview that nothing of a criminal nature occurred during her stay at the Bailey home.

The court heard from two other witnesses. The trial continues today.

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