Couple charged with sexual assault
THREE members of the gallery were ejected from Grafton Court yesterday during the bail hearings for a couple charged with sexually assaulting a 23-year-old Casino woman at the weekend.
Robert Clarence Childs, 39, of South Grafton, and Caran Louise Everson, 42, from Mudgee, entered pleas of not guilty to two counts of aggravated indecent assault in company, a charge of detaining a person to obtain advantage in company and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company.
The court was told Childs and Everson were living together at the Sunset Caravan Park in South Grafton.
Childs appeared first before magistrate Kim Pogson. His appearance in court sparked a fiery outburst from the gallery.
A woman cried out “You nearly killed my daughter. You dog, you dog”, and another man yelled an obscenity. The sheriff escorted both from the court room.
At the end of the bail hearing another man in the gallery walked across the gallery to get closer to where Childs stood in the dock.
“Childsie, Childsie, you know where you are going,” he said repeatedly. He was also escorted from the court room.
Solicitor Joe Fahey, representing Childs, entered a plea of not guilty for his client. He said there were aspects of the police account of the victim’s escape that were open to question.
Mr Pogson refused bail to Childs and he was remanded in custody to appear before Grafton Local Court on April 12.
Everson appeared next and she was bailed to appear on the same date.
Police allege the couple met the Casino woman at a licensed premises in Casino.
The three people went to a caravan park in South Grafton before the man and woman offered to drive the 23-year-old back to her home in Casino later in the evening.
As the trio drove towards Casino, the 39-year-old man allegedly pulled the car into a camping ground at Lillydale and threatened the Casino woman.
The Casino woman was allegedly indecently assaulted before she was able to escape the man and woman by jumping into the nearby Clarence River.
The South Grafton man and woman fled the camping ground.
The 23-year-old sought help at a nearby home from where police and emergency services were contacted.
A crime scene was established and police conducted a number of inquiries into the incident.
About 12.40pm on Sunday Grafton police arrested the South Grafton man and woman in a car at Grafton.
They were taken to Grafton Police Station where they were questioned before both were charged.