Alleged child-sex offender free
JOHN Charles Smurthwaite will continue to walk the streets of the Fraser Coast for at least another five months before he faces trial on serious child-sex charges.
Smurthwaite, 53, will face Hervey Bay District Court on 16 counts of indecent treatment of children under 16.
The charges relate to alleged sex acts involving four young boys.
Police allege the boys were swimming in a pond at a public parkland area behind Smurthwaite’s home in McNally Street, Scarness.
After the boys allegedly saw Smurthwaite naked and watching them through binoculars from his property, one of them approached him.
It is alleged Smurthwaite convinced the group to come on to his property, persuaded them to take their clothes off, gave them alcohol and performed oral sex on them.
The offences are alleged to have occurred between December 2008 and June of this year.
The Hervey Bay District Court does not sit until April but Smurthwaite’s trial may not be heard until a later date.
Smurthwaite spent almost two months in jail awaiting his first court appearance but has since been released on bail under the condition he consumes no alcohol or non-prescription drugs and submits to random breath, blood and urine testing by police.
Prosecutor Sergeant Kathryn Stagoll yesterday presented a number of witness statements to the court, along with interview records and photographs.
Smurthwaite, dressed casually in a navy shirt and khaki shorts, consented to the evidence being committed to trial without further examination by Magistrate Tom Killeen.
He did not enter a plea.