Dunning to stand trial on child sexual abuse allegations

CENTRAL Queensland Ports Authority chairman and former Energex head Ross Dunning was yesterday committed to trial on charges of child sexual assault.

Dunning has stood aside from his role as chairman while he faces allegations of abuse committed in 1968 against two boys, 16 and 14 at the time.

The allegations of unlawful and indecent assault were heard in a committal hearing which began in Gladstone Magistrates Court and wrapped up yesterday at Rockhampton Magistrates Court.

The magistrate found there were five charges which should be tried in the case of the older boy, and three for the younger child, bringing the charges against Dunning to eight.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Graham Seabrook said the alleged offences included masturbating and ejaculating in front a child, and on one occasion rubbing his naked body against one of them while he lay in bed.

Dunning's defence barrister QC John Griffin said there were a number of issues with the case which should not allow it to proceed to trial.

He said the issues included technicalities with the charges themselves, the timing, the statement, and the complainants' credibility.

However, the magistrate said the complainants were credible enough for a jury to consider the evidence and he committed Ross Dunning to stand trial in Rockhampton District Court on a date to be set.

QC Griffin entered a plea of not guilty on Dunning's behalf and Dunning was released on bail.

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