- Woman, 52, was charged with child sex offences
- Judge has upheld suppression order on her identity
- For confidential support 24/7, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
An Australian TV star charged with 37 historic child abuse offences – including rape and torture – has won a bid to keep her identity a secret amid mental health concerns, after a recent suicide attempt.
The Channel Seven personality, 52, is accused of carrying out the alleged crimes between 2005 and 2023 at various locations across Queensland.
The charges against her include eight counts of rape, one count of sexual assault, 17 counts of indecent treatment of children under 16, two charges of torture and further assault offences.
Her partner, a 49-year-old man, has also been charged with seven counts of assault, and cannot be identified for legal reasons.
A high profile TV personality cannot be named for legal reasons following a magistrate’s order in a Brisbane court on Monday
The woman’s lawyers moved quickly to get a court order suppressing her identity after new laws came into effect on October 3 allowing some people who are accused of sexual offences in Queensland to be named.
After lawyers for the alleged victims and media organisations launched a legal bid to fight the court order, Magistrate Aaron Simpson on Monday ruled for it to be upheld.
In his judgment, Magistrate Simpson cited concerns for the woman’s mental health after she ‘spontaneously’ attempted suicide on September 15, amid the media attention surrounding her case.
According to court documents, the woman – who has a ‘complex past personal and medical history’ – was feeling ‘hopeless and helpless’ about the situation when a friend suggested she have ‘half a glass of red wine’ with Valium to help sedate her.
However, the woman wasn’t ‘thinking properly’, ‘didn’t want to be here anymore’ and attempted suicide.
She was rushed to hospital in an ambulance before later being released under continuous supervision and with the support of family and friends.
Following the hospitalisation, the woman was referred to a criminal and forensic psychologist for assessment.
The psychologist found that the allegations have had a ‘profoundly adverse’ impact on the woman.
He noted she displayed symptoms of depression and anxiety, was struggling to functioning with day-to-day tasks, and that she remained at high risk of suicide.
The psychologist said the woman was later confronted by a media outlet in a car park on October 3, which had made her fear for her safety and ‘perpetuated’ her existing mental health disorders.
‘The release of her identity to the broader public poses a significant destabilising factor upon her mental state and more so, her capacity for judgment and reasoning,’ the psychologist’s report reads.
‘As such, the risk of intentional self-harm and/or suicide remains high. The aggravating factor is her related impairments in self-regulation which are a product of her mental health disorder, as evidenced by her suicide attempt.’
In making his decision, Magistrate Simpson said ‘there would be few better examples of a special vulnerability of a defendant’ for meeting the criteria of a suppression order and that the woman is a ‘fragile person that is a risk to herself’.
He said the woman’s safety was paramount over the lawyer’s arguments that she should be identified for the sake of open justice, public interest, and the desire of her alleged victims to identify themselves.
The matter will return to court for a committal hearing in November.
For confidential support 24/7, call Lifeline on 13 11 14