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Monday, March 20, 2023

Milton Orkopoulos showed condoms and drugs to teen: court

Milton Orkopoulos showed a bag containing condoms and marijuana to a teenager who accompanied him to a Labor conference, a court has heard.

Mr Orkopoulos, 65, is facing a District Court trial having pleaded not guilty to historical child sex allegations.

A jury in Sydney’s Downing Centre has heard evidence from four men who allege that they were sexually abused and supplied with drugs by Mr Orkopoulos during a string of incidents in the Lake Macquarie region and on NSW’s Mid North Coast from 1993 to 2003.

Mr Orkopoulos, who was on the Lake Macquarie City Council before serving as the Member for Swansea from 1999 to 2006, has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to 28 charges.

Over the last several days, the jury has been read testimony from several men who gave evidence in previous proceedings.

The jury has been told that the men’s testimony does not relate to the allegations for which Mr Orkopoulos is standing trial.

Rather, the Crown prosecution is relying on their past testimony as “tendency evidence” in an effort to prove the allegations, while his defence argues it should be given no weight in regards to the current allegations before the court.

Waverley Court
Camera IconMilton Orkopoulos is standing trial where he has pleaded not guilty to historical child sex offences. Damian Shaw. Credit: News Corp Australia

The jury was on Friday told that one man previously told the court that he was 15 years old when he joined the Labor Party, and a year later was introduced to Mr Orkopoulos at a function for then-federal MP Jill Hall.

He was 16 years old when he accepted an invitation from the then-Swansea MP to accompany him to the Labor national conference at Darling Harbour, where Mark Latham – then the ALP national leader – was the keynote speaker.

The pair drove down in Mr Orkopoulos’ car and when they arrived at Parliament House, he asked the teenager to open the glove box.

“Milton asked me to open the glove box,” the man said in his evidence at the time.

“Inside the glove box was a packet of condoms with five or six packets and a stash of marijuana, in what looked to be a resealable bag.”

Under later cross examination from Mr Orkopoulos’ then defence counsel in the previous proceedings, the man agreed that the condoms did not play part in any of their interactions that weekend.

27-1-05   State Member for Swansea Milton Orkopoulos. Picture: Ron Hutchings
Camera IconMilton Orkopoulos was the Member for Swansea at the time of some of the alleged offending. Ron Hutchings. Credit: News Limited

The man told the court that in his parliamentary office, Mr Orkopoulos chopped up the pot and rolled a joint, which they smoked together, before driving to their hotel room.

According to the man’s testimony, when he was in bed, Mr Orkopoulos came out of the shower fully clothed.

“He didn’t look ready for bed … it would have been late at night,” the man said.

“Milton walked out and said ‘I don’t trust myself, I’m going back to Parliament House’.”

The man said he grew “concerned” when Mr Orkopoulos said he didn’t “trust himself” with him.

“Is that something you imagined he said,” Mr Orkopoulos’ defence counsel asked in cross examination at the time.

“No,” the man said.

Waverley Court
Camera IconMilton Orkopoulos (right) has pleaded not guilty to 28 charges. Damian Shaw. Credit: News Corp Australia

The court heard that on the second night of the conference, the teen and Mr Orkopoulos were booked to stay in different hotel rooms.

According to the man, Mr Orkopoulos came into the teen’s room and smoked a joint on the balcony and began talking about sexual relationships he had with other men.

According to the man’s testimony, he was in bed by the time Mr Orkopoulos returned from the balcony.

“He re-entered into the room and made the remark he would ‘love to have me’,” the man said, adding that Mr Orkopoulos attempted to rub his chest.

The man said he was “s***-scared” and flinched, prompting Mr Orkopoulos to remark “you’re not ready for this yet, are you son” and walked out.

On another occasion, at a meeting inside Mr Orkopoulos’ electorate office, the man told the court at the time, the former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs began massaging his shoulders and chest.

“He said wanted to massage my shoulders and he walked over and started massaging the top of my shoulders and reaching down into the front of my chest,” the man said.

“He said I needed to relax more.”

The man said Mr Orkopoulos massaged him for 15-20 seconds before he left.

Mr Orkopoulos has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years, seven counts of aggravated indecent assaulting a minor and committing an indecent act with a minor.

He also pleaded not guilty to eight charges of supplying cannabis to minors and one count of perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues on Monday.

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