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No inquest into death of Christian Porter rape accuser

The woman, known only as Kate, accused former attorney-general Christian Porter of a historic rape. He denies the allegations.

The woman, known only as Kate, accused former attorney-general Christian Porter of a historic rape. He denies the allegations. Photo: AAP

The South Australian coroner has ruled out an inquest but will not reveal the findings of an investigation into the death of an Adelaide woman alleged to have been raped as a teenager by former federal attorney-general Christian Porter.

In a statement on Thursday, State Coroner David Whittle said he had completed an “exhaustive” coronial investigation into the death of a woman referred to as Kate, who alleged she was sexually assaulted by Mr Porter when she was a teenager more than 30 years ago.

Mr Whittle said he had entered a finding as to the cause of Kate’s death and determined that an inquest would not be held.

“This is in accordance with the wishes of Kate’s family, who have requested that their privacy be respected,” he said.

“The state coroner is bound by confidentiality obligations and no further information will be released.”

InDaily asked the state coroner’s office what finding had been made as to the cause of Kate’s death, but a spokesperson declined to comment.

Kate had alleged that she was raped in 1988 in Sydney when she was 16-years-old.

She took her own life in 2020, aged 49, after going to SA Police with allegations of historic rape.

The allegations were also detailed in a letter sent to several members of parliament in 2021 by friends of the woman in whom she had confided.

Mr Porter, who was attorney-general in the former Morrison government, in March 2021 identified himself as the minister accused of raping Kate, confirming the pair knew each other through debating competitions.

He strenuously denied the allegations, but took a leave of absence to seek help for his own mental health.

The former chief law officer eventually resigned in 2021 after revealing he had accepted an anonymous donation to help cover his personal legal fees. He left parliament at the 2022 federal election.

SA Police referred the sexual assault allegation to NSW Police in 2020, but the investigation was closed because there was “insufficient admissible evidence” to proceed.

It was previously revealed NSW police detectives met Kate in Sydney in February 2020 and had contact with her on at least five occasions over the next three months.

On June 23 she indicated in an email to them that she did not wish to proceed with the complaint and two days later SA police advised she had died.

Under SA law, police are required to investigate all suicides and prepare a report for the coroner, who must decide whether an inquest is required to investigate all evidence or system failures.

In 2021, Mr Whittle ordered police to conduct further investigations into Kate’s death, describing the brief of evidence handed to him as “incomplete”.

In a statement on Thursday, friends of Kate – including Jo Dyer, Nick Ryan and Jeremy Samuel – said they were grateful for the coroner’s “exhaustive and respectful” investigation.

They said they continued to believe there were “tragic failures of process” in Kate’s case.

“Whilst too late for Kate, if these failures are properly acknowledged, investigated and understood, it may help others who find themselves in a similar position of hopelessness and despair in the future,” they said.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline on 131 114

This story first appeared in InDaily and is republished here with permisson

-with AAP

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