Saturday September 14 2013
– Lawyers for former St Kilda AFL player Stephen Milne are considering making an application that the rape charges against him are an “abuse of process” and should be thrown out of court.
Defence barrister Philip Dunn, QC, told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday the application could potentially be made before a committal hearing into the charges begins in November.
The hearing, which has been set down for at least three days from November 12th and will involve 17 witnesses, will determine if Mr Milne should stand trial on four rape charges.
Mr Milne, 33, of Cheltenham, who appeared in court with his wife, Melissa, is accused of raping a 19-year-old woman at the Highett home of his teammate Leigh Montagna on March 15th, 2004, after St Kilda’s family day to celebrate the club’s win in that year’s pre-season competition the previous night.
Mr Milne and Mr Montagna were investigated at the time, but no charges were laid.
Mr Milne was charged on June 18th this year after a police review of the case had been requested by the Office of Police Integrity.
In a statement released after Mr Milne was charged, Victoria Police acknowledged the original investigation had been “substantially inadequate”.
Mr Dunn told the court on Friday that eight of the witnesses at the hearing would be police investigators from the original 2004 investigation and those involved in the 2010 investigation, which had been prompted by a television interview given by former detective Scott Gladman.
Mr Gladman claimed police members with alleged links to the football club had attempted to sabotage their investigation into the 2004 rape allegations.
The former detective told Nine News at the time that tapes of interviews with the two Saints were stolen from his desk and the alleged victim’s statement was leaked to the club during the investigation.
Mr Dunn told the court on Friday that questions would be asked about the original investigation and if the OPI was pressured into reactivating the case in 2010.
Mr Dunn then raised the issue of a subpoena Mr Milne’s defence team had issued to Radio 3AW and talkback host Neil Mitchell demanding they hand over the tape of an interview he had with the alleged victim and her mother on May 17th, 2004.
Mr Dunn said the tape was important to the case because the alleged victim’s story had varied from time to time.
A special hearing into the matter of the tape will be held in September 30th.
– Mark Russell