A federal political staffer and second-year law student has been charged with two counts of rape over an incident alleged to have taken place earlier this year.
The Australian National University (ANU) second-year law student Alexander Matters was arrested on Friday, 20 September and formally charged on Saturday morning based on a sexual assault complaint received by ACT police last month.
In a statement, police confirmed that the sexual assault and child abuse team executed a search warrant in Acton on Friday and “subsequently charged the man with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent”. He appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court the next day via video link from the court cells.
Mr Matters’ federal labor employer MP David Smith also confirmed in a statement that Mr Matters’ employment had been terminated.
“My thoughts are with the woman who’s come forward at this time. There are serious issues currently being dealt with by the appropriate authorities. It would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time,” Mr Smith said.
According to the ABC, Mr Matters’ lawyer Andrew Fraser applied for bail for his client, but the prosecution raised concerns about statements of self-harm made to police. Mr Fraser insisted it was a throwaway line due to shock of the situation but ACT Magistrate Peter Morrison said he had to consider the comment carefully.
“He’s a person in some shock,” Mr Fraser was reported to have said to the ACT Magistrates Court. “It’s his first interaction with the criminal justice system.”
No official court date has been set for Mr Matters’ next appearance.
Help is available. Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Respect on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). Each law society and bar association also has further contacts available on their respective websites.