Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse to Investigate Dropping of Charges Against Scott Volkers.

The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse will investigate events leading to the decision drop sex charges against swim coach Scott Volkers. The roles of then Queensland attorney-general Rod Welford, the director of public prosecutions Leanne Clare, her assistant Paul Routledge and other legal figures will come under scrutiny.

A former CMC investigation into the probity of officials involved in the case found no evidence of misconduct or interference by the Department of Public Prosecutions. It did, however, isolate a number of errors made by the DPP in their handling of the case, noting there “were more defects than one would ordinarily expect to find in an examination of a matter of this kind.”

Following a twelve-month investigation, Scott Volkers was ordered to stand trial on seven charges of indecently dealing with a minor. This was in 2002. Six months after his arrest all charges were dropped. The DPP believed the evidence constituted ‘no reasonable basis’ from which to expect a conviction.

The announcement was met with a storm of outrage from alleged victims. Lawyers and politicians raised questions at the time over ‘procedural issues’ and called for the CMC to investigate.

Scott Volkers. Photo www.smh.com.au

Scott Volkers. Photo www.smh.com.au

In 2010 the Commissioner for Children and Young people refused to issue Volkers with a Blue Card, allowing him to work with children.

Volkers was recognized as one of Swimming Australia’s great coaches. He guided Samantha Riley and Susie O’Neill though the high points of their career and substantially enriched the depth of national swim talent.

Volkers was accused by several of his former charges of inappropriate behaviour, including fondling a 13 year-old girl. He has stridently denied any wrongdoing. For the last two years Volkers has been coaching in Brazil. He will be bringing a squad to Australia in August for the Pan Pacific Games.

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