Nigerian carer cleared over shower assault
A judge has slammed as "staggering" a disability organisation that hires men to bathe vulnerable women after one of its employees was yesterday acquitted of sexual assault.
A Nigerian national on a student visa had told the District Court he was only washing the "private parts and bum bum" of the woman who has cerebral palsy and denied assaulting her.
But Judge Paul Conlon said the woman, now aged 41, should never have been placed in a situation where she "felt uncomfortable".
The defendant, who had completed a six-month nursing course in Sydney to look after disabled people and the aged, had been employed by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Judge Conlon compared it with former ABC boss Michelle Guthrie complaining about former ABC chair Justin Milne touching her on the back which she described as "feeling icky".
"You might think it amazing in this day and age that in the state we are at when … a powerful female who was working in the corporate sector happens to complain about a colleague touching her back because it made her feel icky yet we have an organisation where a vulnerable person is washed in this way providing perhaps for something like this to occur," he said.
CPA disability support worker Matthew Malone told the court the organisation did not provide care based on gender.
"I'm just quite staggered by all of that," Judge Conlon said.
The name of the 30-year-old Nigerian, who has been in Australia since 2016, was suppressed after the court heard he had been assaulted in immigration detention.
He was acquitted of two counts of aggravated sexual intercourse without consent involving a woman with a serious physical disability.
The woman who is in full-time care cannot speak and gave evidence using a communication board and an interpreter via videolink.
She indicated with a finger on her right hand how she had been allegedly penetrated in the shower and as she was dried.
The man said he had been trained to ask a client before washing their "private parts and bum bum". He said by that he meant her vagina and buttocks.
Judge Conlon told jurors after their verdicts: "You may be of the same view that I am that someone like (this woman) should not be placed in the situation where she felt so uncomfortable".