Ex-MP questions carpark sex claims

Milton Orkopoulos’ lawyer has questioned whether the former state MP would be brazen enough to sexually assault a boy in a busy public carpark, a court has been told.

The ex-Swansea MP’s District Court trial has entered its closing stages as he battles allegations that he sexually abused four young boys and supplied them with drugs in the NSW Lake Macquarie region and Mid North Coast from 1993 to 2003.

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Crown prosecutor Cate Dodds has accused Mr Orkopoulos of preying on the boys and teens “like a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

The former minister for Aboriginal affairs has pleaded not guilty to 28 charges – including nine counts of sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years – and his barrister Paul Johnson has used his closing address to the jury to question the credibility of the alleged victims.

During the trial, one man told the court that he was first sexually assaulted by Mr Orkopoulos in the then MP’s vehicle when the Labor minister pulled his penis out of his pants and forced him to perform oral sex.

Mr Johnson described the man’s evidence as improbable given it was alleged to have occurred in a frequently used carpark and thoroughfare.

“I can’t say these events are simply impossible,” Mr Johnson said.

“But do you really think Mr Orkopoulos would be that cavalier where anyone could park a car nearby or anyone could come from the arcade … towards Mr Orkopoulos’ car, looking at the driver’s side and see the driver sitting in the seat with a boy … Seriously, how likely is that?”

Milton Orkopoulos is fighting allegations that he sexually abused four young boys. Picture: Damian Shaw.
Milton Orkopoulos is fighting allegations that he sexually abused four young boys. Picture: Damian Shaw.

Mr Orkopoulos is also accused of grabbing another young boy on the penis and attempting to kiss him in a shower.

He is also standing trial on one count of perverting the course of justice in relation to an allegation that he forced that boy to sign a statement retracting his claims to police.

But Mr Johnson has claimed that it was impossible for Mr Orkopoulos to have coerced the boy into signing the document because at that point, his knowledge of the boy’s claim was that he “looked” at him “funny”.

He also said the man – who cannot be identified – had given inconsistent versions of events over the years, including in interviews with the Department of Community Services and police.

“Can you honestly say to yourself that (the man) is honest, accurate and reliable?” Mr Johnson said.

“And you know what he told his mum, what he told his dad, what he told DoCS and what he told police. None of which is now claims.

“There is no doubt this story has changed significantly between the period of 1994 to ’96 to when he made his statement in 2006.”

Some of the alleged offences occurred when Mr Orkopoulos was serving as the member for Swansea.
Some of the alleged offences occurred when Mr Orkopoulos was serving as the member for Swansea.

Another man – who also cannot be identified – told the court that he first met Mr Orkopoulos in 1998 when he was taken to see the then state MP because he was getting into trouble at school.

Several weeks later, the court was told, Mr Orkopoulos pulled up outside the boy’s friend’s house and said his grandma had spoken to him and that he needed to get in the car.

He said he was driven to the Old Pacific Highway where they smoked two joints together before Mr Orkopoulos forced him to perform oral sex on him.

The man told the court that he was sexually abused on another seven or eight occasions.

Mr Johnson said the alleged victim might have been motivated by money to make the accusations.

“We also know he is the only one who has applied for victim’s compensation,” Mr Johnson said.

“Sure, while that is his right if he is a victim, it’s also a motivation to allege being a victim and to blame his ruined life on Mr Orkopoulos. “

The trial will conclude with final parts of Mr Johnson’s closing submissions on Monday before the jury retires to consider its verdict.

Court reporter

Steve Zemek began his career in his native Queensland before moving to Sydney with Australian Associated Press in 2014. He worked as an NRL journalist for five seasons, covering the game all over Australia and in N… Read more

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