31 Oct 2016

Person charged with assault of asylum seeker child on Nauru

2:51 pm on 31 October 2016

Police on Nauru have charged a person with the indecent assault of a six-year-old child last year.

A small group of Muslim refugees pray at sunset while other refugees participate in a football match at a camp for the asylum seekers on Nauru, 20 September 2001. The first of hundreds of mainly Afghan refugees arrived on the island 19 September from the Australian troopship Manoora.

Photo: AFP

The case appears to be the first relating to the alleged abuse of an asylum seeker to make it to the island's courts.

In documents published on the legal website Paclii, an October 21 ruling shows that police have charged an un-named person with one count of indecent assault of a girl in October last year.

The full circumstances of the allegation, including whether the alleged assault occurred in Australia's detention centre or in the community, are unclear.

The prosecution had applied for the court to be closed during the trial, and for the child to not have to go through cross-examination.

A statement provided to the court by three social and medical staff said that a court appearance was highly likely to adversely affect the child's emotional state.

But in her decision, resident magistrate Emma Garo denied the request that the girl not be made available for cross examination, but she did rule that the child's evidence would be heard in a closed court.

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