... So that You may be kept informed

Vic: Police have denied me justice: rape accused Theophanous

By Daniel Fogarty
23 Jan 2009 1:03 PM

MELBOURNE, Jan 23 AAP - Senior Victorian MP Theo Theophanous says police have denied him justice in his fight against a rape charge.

The former cabinet minister appeared briefly in court on Friday to face a charge of raping a woman at Parliament House in 1998.

Outside court, he accused police of denying him the right to put his side of the story.

"There was no open minded approach in my circumstance and indeed it cannot be the case that it is open minded when the police are not even prepared to grant the basic right to an interview so that my side of the case can be put," Theophanous said with his wife Rita standing by his side.

"How can it be fair, that you listen to only one side and you don't hear the other side when there is so much at stake in these circumstances."

Theophanous said he had the entire resources of the Office of Public Prosecutions and the Victoria Police pitted against him.

"They are determined to win this battle and they will fight extremely hard for it to occur," he said.

"We will also fight, we are a fighting family.

"I believe that ultimately the justice system, 12 Victorians, will make a decision and they will make the right decision.

"This is going to be a difficult road for us, but I and my family are determined - determined to defend the honour of my family and to defend the honour of myself in these circumstances."

He said many people, including his family, had been hurt by the "false allegations" made 10 years after the alleged incident by a person living on the other side of the world.

Friday's Melbourne Magistrates Court hearing lasted just one minute.

Theophanous did not speak and was not required to enter a plea during the hearing. His next court appearance will be on March 27 for a committal mention.

He resigned from his portfolio of trade and industry on Christmas Eve when police charged him with rape, but remains a member of the Victorian Upper House.

Theophanous is expected to return to the Upper House when parliament resumes on February 3.

It will be his first appearance in the house since the rape investigation was made public in October.

Victoria's Acting Premier Rob Hulls said Theophanous was entitled to remain in parliament while the matter was finalised by the courts.

"He is an elected member of parliament, he has been charged with an offence but he is innocent and entitled to the presumption of innocence ... at least until it's shown to be otherwise," Mr Hulls said.

"Being entitled to that presumption of innocence, he's entitled absolutely to attend parliament."

The alleged victim, who now lives in Greece and is in her early 40s, accuses Theophanous of raping her in Parliament House in September 1998 after they had a drink together in the city.