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Canberra policeman denies molesting boy in his care

A police officer and carer says he was simply researching a child’s behavioural problems when he typed ‘‘boys first time’’ and ‘‘boys no undies’’ into Google.

But the Crown has accused the ACT policeman, currently suspended without pay, of having ‘‘no doubt’’ over the types of images he would get through using the phrases.

The man, who cannot be named, has not been charged over the searches, but they are being used as evidence of his attraction to young boys in an ACT Supreme Court trial before Justice Richard Refshauge.

The officer is instead accused of four indecent acts on, or in the presence of, a 12-year-old boy he was caring for in 2012.

The man is accused of asking the boy on a number of occasions after he got out of the shower whether he could touch him. He allegedly molested the boy in one of the incidents.

The policeman is also accused of taking an explicit picture of the child and storing it on his computer.

But the officer is fighting the allegations, and his defence barrister Richard Thomas has told the jury the boy made up the allegations out of anger, because he was told his bad behaviour meant he could no longer go to the man’s house.

The accused gave evidence on Wednesday, saying the boy’s behaviour had become ‘‘completely uncontrollable’’.

He said he decided he wouldn’t take the child back, and told the boy as much, before telling his mother in his presence.

But under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Trent Hickey, the officer was asked about conflicting statements he had made to police after his arrest.

The officer had told detectives the boy had ‘‘mellowed out’’ and was getting better.

‘‘That night [of the interview] I was traumatised, I was tired, I was shocked, I didn’t really know what was going on,’’ the accused told the court.

Mr Hickey replied he was an experienced police officer, and was asked if he was OK, too tired, or wanted a lawyer during the interview, which stretched into the early hours of the morning.

The accused was also questioned over the search history found on his computer.

He admitted to entering the term ‘‘boys’’ into the nudity section of a website, but said he was looking for images of boys to add to ‘‘disciplinary charts’’ he was making for the children in his care.

‘‘So you thought you’d start off in the nudity section of a website?’’ Mr Hickey asked.

The accused replied, ‘‘No that’s not what I was doing.

‘‘I didn’t realise it was that sort of section.’’

The officer admitted he then typed the phrases ‘‘boys first time’’ and ‘‘boys no undies’’ into Google, but said he had done it to research the poor behaviour of the child he is accused of molesting.

He said he was trying to understand why the boy kept running out of the shower without clothes on.

‘‘You must have known these search terms would bring up pornographic images?’’ Mr Hickey asked.

The man replied that he thought he had enough censorship programs on his laptop to prevent those kinds of images coming up.

The man also denied taking an explicit picture of the boy, or saving the image to his computer.

Mr Hickey accused him of being attracted to young boys.

‘‘No, it’s an outrageous question, sorry, a statement to make,’’ he said.

The trial continues on Thursday.

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