An elderly man has been granted bail after allegedly assaulting a cognitively impaired teenage boy in the bathroom at Sydney’s Central Station.
Bryce Grainger, 75, appeared in Sydney Downing Centre Local Court to make a bid for bail after being charged with aggravated sexual intercourse with a child and intentionally sexually touching a child.
Around 3pm on April 4, police allege the Mortdale man stopped a 15-year-old boy in the bathroom at Sydney’s Central Station and sexually assaulted him.
The court was told Mr Grainger had been pacing around the bathroom on the Country Concourse for half an hour before the teenager entered.
Police allege he took the 15-year-old, who the court was told has a “significant cognitive impairment”, into a cubicle and sexually assaulted him.
The court was told the alleged offences did not involve violence, although defence lawyer Slade Howell conceded there was “a bit of nudging” in the toilet cubicle.
He told the court that his client had been diagnosed with dementia and there was evidence he was “thought-disordered” at the time of the “pretty unusual” circumstances.
“He’s an untreated demented man walking around with a major neurocognitive disorder,” Mr Howell said.
“That is a major contributing factor to what’s happened.”
He argued that Mr Grainger was struggling to obtain satisfactory medical treatment in custody, a problem that would be compounded during the lengthy wait for the next court date.
Mr Howell said his client was “in decline” and needed to access specialist medical services for “a proper assessment” of whether he was fit to plead to the charges.
Crown prosecutor Charlotte Wheatley told the court that Mr Grainger had not been diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder prior to the offending despite regular doctor’s appointments.
“The accused has been diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia, which is not unusual for someone who is 75-76 years of age,” she said.
Ms Wheatley argued that Mr Grainger’s medical condition “cuts both ways” in that he required adequate medical attention in the community but his medical condition could also endanger the community.
“The accused’s need for optimal treatment must be balanced against the community’s need for safety,” she told the court.
The court was told there was some disagreement over the nature of the charges laid against the 75-year-old. Mr Howell said contradicting statements from the alleged victim did not match the charges against his client.
“The complainant’s account of what happened … does not disclose sexual intercourse. It discloses touching and a sex act inside the cubicle,” he said.
However, Ms Wheatley told the court that further charges related to the incident could potentially be laid.
“What’s reflected in the Crown statement would give rise to further charges,” she said.
While Mr Grainger has not entered formal pleas to the charges, the Crown prosecutor noted that he “made fulsome admissions (to the offences) in reliable circumstances.”
She argued the elderly Mortdale resident should not be granted bail because his release posed an “unacceptable risk”.
“We’ve got a very strong Crown case, very serious offences, (and) very serious risk pertaining directly to community safety,” she said.
Magistrate Derek Price said Mr Grainger’s lack of criminal history and need for specialist medical assessment were persuasive.
“There is some element of risk; however, it is my view that strong conditions be put in place to alleviate that risk,” he said.
He ordered Mr Grainger to remain in his home 24 hours a day except when being taken to a medical appointment by his brother.
In addition to the usual “non-negotiable” conditions of abstaining from drugs and seeking medical treatment, the 75-year-old is also prohibited from using public transport or entering any train stations while on bail.
Clad in his prison greens, Mr Grainger cried when he heard he would be released from custody.