NSW prosecutor’s advice to her Queensland counterpart outlining the difficulties in charging a high profile swimming coach slammed during royal commission.
A survivor of alleged child sexual abuse at the hands of a former Olympic swimming coach says she’s appalled by a prominent NSW prosecutor’s advice about her case.
Julie Gilbert, who alleges she was sexually abused by former Olympic swimming coach Scott Volkers, says she was let down by the advice provided to Queensland authorities by former NSW Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen.
“I was and remain appalled at the tone and content of Ms Cunneen’s advice,” Ms Gilbert told the child sexual abuse royal commission on Monday.
“Some are matters that call for expert opinion … whilst others are simply mis-statements or misconceptions of my evidence.”
Ms Cunneen provided advice there was trouble with Ms Gilbert’s accusation that Mr Volkers had abused her.
Ms Cunneen’s observations included that she found it “somewhat novel that no one alleges that Volkers ever exposed himself or encouraged any touching of his genital area.”
Ms Gilbert said she was offended by a line in which she was described as coming “across as someone looking for someone to blame for not being a more successful swimmer”.
It was noted Ms Gilbert returned to work with Mr Volkers in 1997, to gain accreditation as a swimming coach.
Queensland’s Director of Public Prosecutions sought advice from its NSW counterpart in December 2003, to see if there was sufficient evidence to justify recharging Mr Volkers in relation to seven allegations made against him by three women.
The advice – dated March 26, 2004 – concluded there was no reasonable prospect of conviction in respect to new allegations.
Ms Cunneen recently headed a commission of inquiry into child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
She is expected to appear before the commission during the next two weeks.