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Witness branded liar in rape case -

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Witness branded liar in rape case

Rachael Brown reported this story on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 12:42:00

PETER CAVE: Yet another supporter of the woman who's accused Victoria's former industry minister
Theo Theophanous of raping her has been labelled a liar in the witness box.

Theo Theophanous is now into day seven of his committal hearing, for the alleged rape of a female
friend in his parliamentary chambers in September 1998.

Today, the complainant's brother has taken the stand. Rachael Brown is at the Melbourne
Magistrate's Court.

Rachael, what's been happening this morning?

RACHAEL BROWN: Well, Pete the complainant's brother barely had his bum on the chair before the
defence lawyer flew up and accused him of being a liar before any questions had even been asked.

The complainant's brother is here to give evidence about this rape case but he has been pressed as
to when he last lodged a tax return so needless to say, he looked quite confused about that. His
answer was not since 1998.

Now the defence lawyer Robert Richter has put to him he has never had a job, he is a sponger, a
loafer who lived off his sister and Robert Richter says this case is all about making money, that
he and his sister got together to make money and we first heard that the complainant's brother's
income, main source of income since the alleged attack was from the sale of properties that he
earned 27,000 euro.

He then later admitted he only earned 1000 euro from them.

He first claimed he was a real estate agent. We then learnt later he just thought that he was
worthy of that title because he helped his mum sell their property.

So the defence counsel is clearly trying to attack his credibility.

PETER CAVE: How important is his evidence to the weight of the case?

RACHAEL BROWN: He was there when his mum told the family of the alleged attack in 2006. He said he
approached his sister who didn't remember the exact date. She thought it was sometime in 1998. He
says he does remember the date because he remembers that his sister had a date with Theo
Theophanous and then he remembered his name because he considered him an important politician at
the time and he was also living with his sister at that time and he says he remembers her coming
home to the place they shared and she seemed distressed, that she had red marks on her neck and her
cheeks and that she had a look about her that he would associate someone as being in shock and he
said after that day she was detached and reserved and not the same.

But he has admitted that despite her distress, he didn't press her as to what happened or what was
wrong and this has been a common theme in this committal.

Another friend who was allegedly told of the rape also admitted she didn't press her friend as to
how she felt the days after or didn't speak to her friend for nearly a week after so... and the
brother also said in the box today, in the witness stand, that he knew his sister had spiralled
into drug and alcohol abuse but again, he didn't press her, didn't make her elaborate on what
caused her to do that.

PETER CAVE: So what's in store for the rest of the day?

RACHAEL BROWN: There has been some legal argy bargy about the sexual crimes act and how far defence
counsel can probe into a complainant's private life. Some of this complainant's private life has
been ruled a no-go zone. Robert Richter has been debating the right of the accused to do whatever
possible to defend themselves and Theo Theophanous piped up "and I support that" and was
immediately shushed by his lawyers for that outburst.

The complainant's brother is still being pressed as to his motivation, whether the solicitor
described this case to his sister as her retirement package and he's been accused, when I left the
court to speak to you Peter, of fabricating the whole thing.

This accusation has also been levelled at one of the friends the complainant went to after the
alleged attack, so fabrication is another common theme in this committal hearing and that friend
will continue giving evidence this afternoon via video link.

PETER CAVE: Rachael Brown at the Melbourne Magistrates Court.