Gladstone man avoids rape trial in last-minute plea deal
A GLADSTONE man has avoided facing a jury in relation to a range of rape and child sex offences after reaching a last-minute plea deal with prosecutors at Gladstone District Court.
The offences included five counts of rape, as well as unlawful carnal knowledge of a child under 16.
Potential jurors were kept waiting for hours after the trial was set to begin yesterday morning while the man's lawyers conferred with the prosecution.
The potential jurors were told shortly before midday that they were no longer required.
When the court resumed, Judge Craig Chowdhury was told the defendant now wanted to enter a guilty plea to 10 charges.
Three indictments covering previous sets of charges, some including possession of child exploitation material, were dropped as part of the deal.
Instead, the man pleaded guilty to five counts of rape and three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 12.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful carnal knowledge of a child under 16 and one count of using electronic communication with intent to procure a child under 16.
The court was told the man had suffered a brain injury in the past but had been deemed fit to stand trial.
Because of the unexpected turn of events, the man's defence team was not ready to proceed straight to sentencing.
The case was adjourned and he is expected to be sentenced this morning.
Bail was not opposed by the prosecution.