Botched rape case against ACT prison guard dropped after four months in jail

Botched rape case against ACT prison guard dropped after four months in jail

A flawed investigation of a NSW police worker's rape accusations resulted in an innocent ACT prison guard being locked up for four months in one of Australia's most notorious prisons.

The botced rape case, dropped by prosecutors on Friday, has sparked an internal Australian Federal Police investigation and it is understood one officer has already quit the force.

The falsely accused man, a former guard at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, spent about 130 days in solitary confinement at Goulburn jail after his former girlfriend, 24, alleged he raped and bashed her.

Those allegations were made in the midst of a bitter Family Court dispute between the pair, and after the woman formed a new relationship with a sworn NSW police officer.

There have been doubts about the case's credibility for months, and Friday's withdrawal of charges came after ACT Criminal Investigations detectives became suspicious about the woman's claims earlier this year.


Thankfully, their suspicion was enough to warrant covert surveillance of the woman, a former unsworn NSW police employee, and the home of her police officer boyfriend.

That operation undermined her credibility and eventually led to the prison guard being released from jail.

The woman has been charged with making repeated false accusations to police that her former boyfriend's family harassed and intimidated her while he was behind bars.

But the damage to the accused man had already been done, his lawyer Peter Woodhouse said.

The AMC guard, a high-risk prisoner because of his employment, spent about four months locked down in his Goulburn cell for all but one hour of the day.

He remained behind bars more than a month after police applied for warrants to put his former girlfriend under surveillance.

"Our client has been through an ordeal that no innocent person should ever have to endure," Mr Woodhouse said.

The guard was eventually bailed in late July, when his former girlfriend was charged with making false accusations. But the DPP took another four months to drop the case, which occurred before Justice Hilary Penfold in the Supreme Court of the ACT on Friday.

The prison guard is considering taking civil action, his law firm Ben Aulich and Associates said.

There are also lingering questions about ACT Policing's early investigation of the rape claims.

Mr Woodhouse said he believed at least one ACT police officer might have been involved in the fabrication of allegations and evidence.

"We continue to seek information about that investigation but the AFP have circled the wagons and thus far have not produced anything."

The former girlfriend was committed for trial in the ACT Supreme Court on false accusation and causing public mischief charges earlier this month.

One of the allegedly false claims involved her telling police someone had deliberately cut her power.

However, surveillance of the home showed her going outside and turning the power off, after deactivating her home's CCTV system.

She also told police she had been burgled and that she had tracked a stolen iPad to her former boyfriend's family home using the "find my iPad" application.

Again, police surveillance allegedly proves her wrong. A bug on her car allegedly shows she drove to the house and planted the iPad outside the home.

She is also accused of calling police to tell them someone had planted audio and video bugs in her home and were using them to track her movements to and from work.

She claimed whoever was tracking her ran her off the road as she drove home after a shift.

Police went to the house, searched it and found nothing, but the woman rang them two weeks later, allegedly saying she had found double-sided tape, which could have been used to hold the recording devices.

ACT police returned and her boyfriend, the NSW police officer, showed them where the tape was.

However, forensic tests revealed a DNA sample that could not be excluded from the woman.

There are outstanding charges of common assault against the prison guard, but the court heard they would be withdrawn in the ACT Magistrates Court at a later date.

The former girlfriend will reappear in the ACT Supreme Court at a later date.

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