Russell St bomber Craig Minogue to stand trial on 1980s rape allegations

Russell Street bomber Craig Minogue has been committed to stand trial on allegations he and another man raped two young women more than 30 years ago.

Minogue, who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the 1986 bombing, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges he raped the women, despite his lawyers arguing for the case against him to be permanently suspended.

Craig Minogue

The lawyers argued that police failed to discharge their public duties by not investigating the rape allegations then, which was an “abuse of process” and unfair on their client.

Prosecutors allege Minogue, Peter Komiazyk and Stan Taylor abducted the women, one in Chapel Street, South Yarra, on November 22, 1985, and the other in Ashwood Drive, Nunawading, on March 26, 1986. The second incident was the day before the bombing.

The women – who were aged 18 and 19 at the time – were abducted into a car, blindfolded and driven to nearby properties where they were assaulted, repeatedly raped and then dumped hours later, prosecutors allege.

One of the women died in 2008, aged 41.

Peter Komiazyk when arrested in 2019.Credit:Nine News

Minogue, who appeared via a video link from prison, could not be heard when asked to enter a plea because the microphone on his link was muted. When unmuted moments later he said: “I did say ‘not guilty’ but the person with the mute button wasn’t quick enough.”

Mr Komiazyk, who was acquitted of an involvement in the Russell Street bombing, also pleaded not guilty.

Taylor died in prison in 2016 and was never charged over the abductions.

Minogue, 58, and Mr Komiazyk, 63, both face 38 charges including abduction by force and aggravated rape.

Minogue’s lawyers called for a permanent stay for the charges against him because they argued police acted improperly and unfairly by not investigating the rape allegations at the time, despite them suspecting the men were involved.

The pre-trial committal hearing, which began late last year, previously heard that one of the women was told that police wouldn’t investigate her allegations at the time because they didn’t want to “distract” from the investigation into the bombing.

His lawyers also argued an analysis of the ABC television series Phoenix, which screened in the early 1990s and was loosely based on the Russell Street events, showed that police concealed the rape allegations from the courts while managing the bombing investigation, given the similarities between depictions in the series and details in real statements.

Magistrate Carolyn Burnside said it wasn’t for her to outline her views of the evidence but found it was possible that a jury could convict the accused men, and so committed them to trial.

The accused men are to appear before the County Court on June 15 so a date for their trial can be set. Mr Komiazyk’s lawyer, Malcolm Thomas, estimated the trial would run for up to six weeks.

Ms Burnside also rejected an application for Mr Komiazyk’s bail conditions to be relaxed and ordered he continue reporting to police three times a week.

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