Monday, August 5, 2013

Magistrate admits to child sex offences - The Age

A Victorian magistrate has pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two boys about 30 years ago.

Simon Cooper, 55, on Tuesday morning appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court for a committal hearing that had been expected to be contested, but instead admitted to his crimes.

Cooper, a former Crown prosecutor, pleaded guilty to seven charges.

Six charges of attempted rape were struck out by magistrate Ian Guy.

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The offences carry a maximum sentence of five years' jail.

The two victims and their parents were in court to hear Cooper plead guilty.

He was charged in January after a four-month investigation with offences committed between January 1, 1984, and December 31, 1986.

Cooper, married with two adult children, had his bail varied earlier this year to allow him to holiday with his family in Britain.

He was too unwell to appear in January at the first court mention of the charges.

His solicitor Paul Galbally told a court Cooper was then "not in a fit medical state" to appear and asked that the hearing proceed in his absence.

He appeared on Tuesday morning with his wife and a number of supporters.

Prosecutor Jim Pearce, QC, of the South Australian Director of Public Prosecutions, with junior counsel Deborah Mandie, was briefed by his Victorian counterpart for the matter to ensure independent representation.

NSW magistrate Mr Guy was similarly enlisted to hear the matter.

When the case started, Ian Hill, QC, for Cooper, told the court the defence no longer required four witnesses to be called for cross examination.

Asked by Mr Guy how he pleaded, Cooper replied that he pleaded guilty to the charges as discussed.

Cooper, who has been stood down as a magistrate, will be rebailed to appear in the County Court next month.

One of the brothers outside court described Tuesday's development as a "great victory".


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