PANDEMIC IMPEDES TRIAL: A South Burnett man has been formally charged with four offences in Murgon Magistrates Court. Picture: File
PANDEMIC IMPEDES TRIAL: A South Burnett man has been formally charged with four offences in Murgon Magistrates Court. Picture: File

Burnett sexual assault case hampered by global pandemic

A SOUTH Burnett farmer has been mentioned in the Murgon Magistrates Court on several charges including sexual assault.

The 49-year-old has been formally charged with sexual assault, possessing dangerous drugs, authority required to possess explosives, and secure storage of weapons as a registered owner.

On July 14 police prosecutor sergeant Barry Stevens told the court the man had two ongoing prosecutions, which included a committal hearing in Brisbane.

"The allegations revolve around the defendant sexually assaulting backpackers at his house," he said.

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"The first occurring in time was a long committal, and because of the nature of all the backpackers going back home, the committal was transferred to Brisbane.

"They're now three parts of the way through that committal, so this is a fresh one."

Sgt Stevens told the court that police had been having difficulty locating witnesses due to the current world pandemic.

Police have contacted the majority of the backpackers, bar two major witnesses in England and New Zealand, which has proven "problematic", a court has heard.

Sgt Stevens then asked Magistrate Andrew Sinclair to grant two weeks adjournment to attain statements from them.

The matter was then adjourned until July 28.