Man charged with raping Canberra sex workers booked one-way ticket to Somalia, court hears

7928318-3x2-940x627A man has been remanded in custody after he allegedly planned to flee the country to avoid rape and assault charges involving two Canberra sex workers.

Rashid Abuuh, 23, was arrested late on Wednesday night by ACT police after he breached his bail by being out past his 11:00pm curfew, the ACT Magistrates Court heard.

Abuuh was released on bail on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to charges of rape, sexual assault and aggravated robbery against two sex workers.

The court heard that officers had visited Abuuh’s Florey address last night to find he was not there.

Abuuh, who was representing himself, told the court he had gone to the Ginninderra Medical Centre because had felt sick and had a chest infection, but when he saw it was closed began to walk to Calvary Hospital for attention.

But prosecutor Phoebe Burgoyne-Scutts pointed out that in Abuuh’s statement to police last night he had said he was visiting a friend who lived nearby.

Ms Burgoyne-Scutts also said Abuuh’s family reported that he was visiting a family member instead.

She said Abuuh had been asked if he needed medical assistance when he was taken into custody and he said he did not.

Abuuh ‘booked one-way ticket with Escape Travel’

The court also heard police had been notified by corrective services that Abuuh had told them he had bought a one-way ticket to Somalia leaving next week.

The police informant, Susanna Leister, told the court Abuuh had received a quote about airfares from Escape Travel in Belconnen two hours after he had been served with a summons to court.

The court heard Abuuh booked the ticket less than two weeks later.

“Given the timings of the purchase of the ticket I believe that he is a flight risk and he has no intentions of returning and appearing before the court,” Ms Leister said.

Both Ms Leister and Ms Burgoyne-Scutts also said there were concerns Abuuh would intimidate his alleged victims if he was released on bail.

“There’s ongoing investigations into his involvement in several similar incidents and his level of participation in those incidents,” Ms Leister said.

“There is a fear that he will attempt to re-contact the victims.”

While Abuuh did admit to having used the services of sex workers in Canberra, he denied the criminal accusations against him.

“It does not make sense,” he said.

“I paid them their money always. I don’t even know one person, one sex worker, in this country.”

Plane tickets were for overseas wedding, Abuuh tells court

When asked by Magistrate Glenn Theakston how he had planned to report to police, Abuuh said he had intended to apply to have his bail conditions changed.

Abuuh said he planned to visit family and get married on the trip and he was not fleeing the charges against him.

But Ms Burgoyne-Scutts argued that was not true.

She said Abuuh had the opportunity to tell the court on Tuesday when his bail conditions were set that he intended to travel overseas and decided not to.

Mr Theakston said his main worry was Abuuh’s likelihood to return for his next court date later this year.

“I have grave concerns that the defendant is not likely to appear in court on the next occasion,” he said.

Mr Theakston revoked Abuuh’s bail until he is due to face court again in December.

Source: abc

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