Delayed Court Hearing for Man Charged with Sexual Assault at Star Entertainment Casino

A 21-year-old man who has been detained in Sydney, Australia since November on sexual assault allegations at a casino will remain in custody for some time. Joel Fitzpatrick Burtt had been due to face a court today for supposedly attacking a female at Star Entertainment’s The Star Grand Hotel, but the case was postponed.

The alleged incident occurred at the New South Wales property near Sydney in October, just before Burtt turned 21. He is said to have brutally assaulted a woman in a room at the hotel for more than an hour.

The unnamed victim lodged a complaint against Burtt, explaining how he had choked and punched her during the sexual assault. He eventually handed himself in to the police when they were on the brink of apprehending him.

Prosecutors Request More Time

A witness was able to verify the story. A person in a neighboring room at the time of the episode could hear the victim beg for Burtt to stop. It is not known if either the victim or the witness attempted to seek help from hotel personnel during the incident.

Also present during the attack was another individual. The witness stated that a female voice scolded Burtt for what he had done to the victim’s face.

As the investigation progressed, the authorities identified Burtt and the publicity of the incident led him to surrender a few days after the attack. He has been in prison since then, with numerous judges worried that he might locate the victim and assault her again to prevent her from testifying.

Burtt was to attend court remotely today; only his lawyer, Daniel Wakim, would be physically present in the courtroom. However, according to News Corp Australia, prosecutors requested additional time to build their case.

The judge today, Michael Barko, consented to a three-week extension, albeit reluctantly. He reportedly aired his displeasure at the prosecution’s lack of readiness to charge after having been given such an extended period of time.

Multiple Charges, Multiple Delays

Burtt faces a series of charges of aggravated sexual assault when the prosecution completes its case. He may also be charged with battery and, as he was supposedly inebriated at the time, disorderly conduct.

When the incident occurred, he was already on probation for driving under the influence. The allegation that he had been drinking the night of the attack worsened his situation.

Burtt had made a court appearance on January 12, according to the Daily Mail. The judge denied him bail on that day as he pleaded not guilty, prompting today’s hearing.

Wakim is likewise displeased with the delays, with Burtt’s next appearance unlikely to take place until sometime in May. The lawyer argued that his client ought to be seen as innocent until proven guilty, and the delayed case is denying him of that right. As such, he wants the Supreme Court judge to grant bail.