Prosecutors drop firefighters sexual abuse case
Sydney Morning Herald
Friday March 18, 2011
PROSECUTORS have dropped their case against seven men accused of sexually abusing a NSW fire brigade recruit more than 20 years ago.The five serving and two former firefighters, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were charged in February last year with 42 offences over the alleged sexual assault of the new recruit at the NSW Fire Brigades headquarters in Sydney in 1989. Their accuser first complained about the incident at a meeting with superiors in 2007, where he made claims about boot polish being rubbed into his genitals during an initiation ritual.This week he has been giving closed evidence to a committal hearing at Central Local Court. Yesterday prosecutors told the court the Director of Public Prosecutions had withdrawn the charges. The magistrate, Lee Gilmour, said the conclusion was appropriate.The lawyer for two of the men, Philip Stewart, says his clients are relieved, but their reputations have been dragged through the mud.The matter will return to court today to determine costs.