A pharmacy student accused of rape has been reissued his Working With Children card
The international student, a man who can not be named due to court orders, is studying pharmacy at the Queensland University of Technology, on a scholarship provided by his country of origin.
On 14 June 2017, the man was charged with rape and a week later, Blue Card Services cancelled the blue card he needed to undertake a practical component of his studies.
At a review hearing the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal noted that Blue Card Services’ action was “not a surprising response” bearing in mind the object of the Working With Children card; however the legislation is complex and requires “some careful study” to navigate.
It is alleged that the man and two female acquaintances, both foreign nationals who had been boarding at his residence, consumed cask wine, played drinking games involving playing cards and shared a hash cookie on the night in question.
The alleged victim said he later penetrated her without consent and continued to do so after she asked him to stop.
The matter has not yet proceeded to trial or committal and the student has disputed the charges.
As noted in the student’s submission regarding the cancellation, the blue card is a mandatory requirement of his course, and his studies were the only reason he held one.
He is required to undertake a placement each semester working with a qualified pharmacist; during the last two placements he had minimal, if any, contact with children and young people, he submitted, only dealing with them if they presented with a parent.
He pointed out that during any placement he is supervised 100% of the time by qualified pharmacists, and that if he cannot hold a blue card, he will no longer be able to undertake the placement component of his studies – thus jeopardising the completion of his degree and his status in Australia.
He submitted that his case was not exceptional and this was accepted by the Tribunal.
“The alleged offence, with which he is charged, was committed, at a time when he was heavily intoxicated, he was not at work and was in a social setting,’ it noted.
“It is not reasonable to compare the applicant’s behaviour, in those circumstances to circumstances outlined in the respondent’s submissions where he may be required to work with children or young people.
“Looked at objectively, I do not see the applicant’s behaviour, on the night in question, as posing a potential risk to children he may come in contact with.”