A Berri man has become the first person to lose automatic immunity under South Australia’s new sex offender laws.
Beau Seeby, 23, is accused of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl in a community club toilet in a Riverland town.
Police allege Seeby followed the little girl into the bathroom at about 11 pm on October 6 last year before indecently assaulting her.
He has been charged with one count of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated indecent assault.
Seeby, who appeared in Adelaide Magistrates Court via video link on Tuesday, is yet to plead to those charges.
Last month, state parliament passed laws scrapping the statutory suppression which protected the identity of alleged offenders until they pleaded guilty or were committed for trial.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman says the changes will increase transparency and support the public’s right to know who has been accused of serious sexual offending.
“South Australia was one of the few jurisdictions that still automatically imposes a suppression order when an individual accused of a sex offence first appears before the courts,” Chapman said.
“A defendant’s identity is not automatically suppressed for any other type of offence, and this provision effectively stymies the public right to know who has been charged with offences that may very well be relevant to the broader community.”
The new provisions still protect the identity of victims and will allow for suppressions to be imposed on the names of alleged offenders in certain circumstances.
On Tuesday, prosecutors asked the court to adjourn Seeby’s case for eight weeks to finalise the gathering of forensic evidence.
Seeby will appear in court again in July.