Sunday, May 26, 2024

Court hears details of alleged rape by Former Dubbo Mayor

Former Dubbo Regional Council Mayor, Ben Shields, 41, did not appear in Dubbo Local Court yesterday to face a rape charge dating back to an alleged incident when he was a 22-year-old Councillor.

Documents tendered to the court, however, laid out the claims of an 18-year-old male school student, who alleges he was raped by Mr Shields during a threesome on New Year’s Eve in 2002.

The trio had attended a barbecue before visiting the Dubbo RSL and another local pub before arriving at Shield’s home after midnight.

The victim’s statement details how he was invited into a room with Mr Shields and another man at the former Mayor’s home.

Police allege the three men performed consensual sex acts upon each other, before the victim withdrew his consent at one point due to pain.

Police claim the victim told Mr Shields, “Stop. I don’t want to do it anymore. It hurts.”

Mr Shields allegedly continued with the sex act, telling the victim, “It will get better”.

The court was told the trio slept in the same bed that night before the victim was dropped at a train station the next day.

No complaint was made to Police until the alleged victim saw a Facebook post that mentioned Mr Shields late last year.

Police say he then disclosed the alleged sexual assault to a family member.

In June, detectives recorded a phone call between Mr Shields and the alleged victim in which the former Mayor reportedly asked the victim, “Would an apology or settlement or anything like that help?”

A week later, Mr Shields was arrested and charged with having sexual intercourse without consent.

Mr Shields’ legal team yesterday requested the case be moved to Penrith Local Court, which was granted by the Dubbo magistrate.

The matter will return to court in October.

Mr Shields took indefinite medical leave from his role as Mayor in April last year after he was rushed to hospital in a serious condition following an attempted drug overdose – an action he blamed on the impact of bitter infighting within the council.

The controversial Mayor had earlier been accused of failing to follow consultation protocols over a proposed Bunnings development.

A letter signed by councillors at the time said his colleagues had lost confidence in him and his abilities to lead as Mayor.

“The council condemns and will not tolerate abuse of power, bullying, harassment, threats and intimidation,” the letter read.

“The council has no confidence in the Mayor and calls upon him to resign immediately as Mayor and from council and enable council to move forward in the best interests of the community.”

Prior to his resignation from Council in May last year, Mr Shields had served on the Dubbo council for over two decades and was named Mayor in 2017.

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