Former NSW minister 'took advantage' of boys, jury told
Former NSW minister Milton Orkopoulos took advantage of boys in his electorate, giving them drugs and sexually abusing them when he saw an opportunity to act on his sexual interest in children, a jury has been told.
Orkopoulos, 65, has pleaded not guilty to 28 offences, including sexual offences against underaged boys, allegedly occurring between 1993 and 2003.
He was the member for Swansea from March 1999 until November 2006, when he was booted from cabinet and expelled from the Labor party.
He is facing eight counts of supplying a prohibited drug, eight counts of indecent assault, and 11 counts of sexual intercourse with a person aged between 10 and 16.
He is also accused of perverting the course of justice, allegedly having one complainant sign a statement to retract an allegation.
Crown prosecutor Cate Dodds told the NSW District Court jury on Wednesday afternoon it can expect to hear from four complainants and three additional witnesses throughout the trial, who will tell similar stories about their interactions with Orkopoulos.
Orkopoulos was an adult with money, status and power, in contrast to the survivors of his alleged abuse: young boys with little life experience, Ms Dodds said.
"The accused took advantage of every single one of them," she said.
She expected multiple complainants to also tell the court how they were allegedly supplied drugs and abused by Orkopoulos while children.
Three complainants were part of the same group of friends and one of them first met Orkopoulos, then on the local council, while lobbying for a new skatepark, Ms Dodds said.
One of the boys is expected to say Orkopoulos gave him cannabis and offered him heroin.
The crown case will rely on evidence seeking to establish Orkopoulos had a tendency to act in the way he has been accused of, involving witnesses giving evidence about other incidents Orkopoulos has not been specifically charged with to support the charges that have been brought.
The body of evidence showing Orkopoulos had a sexual interest in underage boys would be "overwhelming", Ms Dodds said.
"(He) has acted on that interest time and time again when the opportunity has presented itself," she said.
Orkopoulos' barrister Paul Johnson told jurors even if they do accept he had committed any of the offences it did not necessarily follow that he was guilty of all of them.
"He strenuously denies that any of these events happened," Mr Johnson told the jury.
He also reminded them to presume his client was innocent and remember it was the Crown's job to prove that he was not.
Mr Johnson said there would be no forensic evidence or CCTV footage during the trial, and the alleged events lacked specific dates, making it harder for his client to defend himself against the allegations.
"It's a broad range of dates for each and every offence," Mr Johnson said.
As an elected MP during part of the period the alleged offending is said to have occurred in, Orkopoulos would have had many meetings and kept a detailed diary, Mr Johnson said.
"Given the lack of specificity about when these events allegedly happened, none of that material establishes anything.
"To that extent, Mr Orkopoulos is at a significant disadvantage," he said.
The trial continues.