Child rape accused allowed home 'to feed fish'
A POINT Vernon man accused of raping a child will be allowed back into his alleged victim's home because he needs to feed his fish.
The 37-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday, where his bail conditions were changed.
The court heard the man previously lived at the same residence as the victim.
Under his original bail conditions he was not allowed to return to the house and now lives elsewhere.
He is still in a relationship with the alleged victim's mother.
The man is charged with four counts of rape of the child between April 24 and August 1 of this year.
Solicitor Fiona Terrell, applying for the bail conditions to be changed, said her client needed to return to the house to get some personal items.
"He also has pets, including tropical fish and freshwater fish, that his partner can't deal with," Ms Terrell said.
"There will still be a condition he has no contact with complainant."
Ms Terrell said the mother of the alleged victim was in the courtroom, supporting the man.
She wrote a letter of support for the bail variation, Ms Terrell said.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Sonia Edwards opposed the variation, saying the child was the victim of "serious allegations" and should have a safe place to go.
"When the matters were investigated (the man) was in police custody, the officers made a decision bail could be granted as long as the complainant child was safe and this was for him not to attend this address at all," she said.
Snr Const Edwards said being allowed into the house would make it easier for the accused to have contact with his alleged victim.
"It is the emotional aspect for the child as well," she said.
"When bail was being granted for this matter, the officer did speak to the mother and she stated her daughter has come first and that is another reason why bail was granted and not opposed."
Snr Const Edwards said the case "could see a conviction" as there were preliminary complainants that backed the victim child's version of events.
She also said in the man's interview with police, parts of his story corroborated the child's version, up until the alleged offending.
"When the bail was first granted the mother did say that her daughter did come first and it appears now she is changing that," Snr Const Edwards said.
Magistrate Stephen Guttridge varied the alleged rapist's bail by allowing him in the house between 11am and 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as long as child was not present.
The case will return to court on October 10.