1 min

Still up on Bijou charges

As of this week, a married man caught in The Bijou porn theatre raids last summer is still trapped in the legal system – there was a warrant out for his arrest.

The charge is not showing in court in November. But the 18 indecency charges were withdrawn by the Crown’s office two months earlier.

The man, who lives out of town, says he thought he was in the clear.

The Crown’s office says it’s the guy’s own fault. The man “didn’t appear for his trial date so the charge was not withdrawn at that time…. Generally, individuals do appear, even if they believe the charge is to be withdrawn,” says Marg Creal. “That’s usually the understanding.”

But she’s on it. “The charge will be withdrawn… and that may even happen today.”

Xtra originally called chief Crown attorney Paul Culver to find out what was going on – who was on holiday. But he checked his messages and asked Creal to look into it.

Earlier, another Crown, Paul McDermott, said there was nothing he could do. “It’s just a matter for the police,” said McDermott. “In terms of the legwork, that isn’t part of our purview…. it’s really not part of our function when a person’s either failed to appear or there’s been some sort of clerical [error].”

Peter Bochove, an activist who protested the repeated targeting of The Bijou from May 1999 through to January 2000 (it was then a porn theatre with a liquor licence), says the whole situation leaves him shaking his head. “It begs the question how many other people are trapped in the same situation.”