A police officer accused of assaulting, stalking and raping a woman will be released to help him receive treatment for PTSD acquired during his time on the force.
But Jonathan Charles Bettles will remain effectively under house arrest at his parents’ western Sydney home after being granted bail.
The 36-year-old is charged with sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated sexual assault of a woman in September 2019.
He is also accused of a myriad of alleged assaults against the same woman between June 2019 and August 2021, including punching her in the head, knocking her unconscious, crushing her between a door and a wall and stomping on her foot.
Justice Deborah Sweeney approved Bettles’ bail in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, noting he was unlikely to face a trial until 2025.
“I think that is an unacceptable delay … particularly given his need for treatment,” she said.
Bettles has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder sustained during his work as a police officer.
He was on mental health leave when arrested in September and has been receiving treatment from psychologists, who told the court he had not received adequate care in custody.
Bettles’ parents and brother say his alleged behaviour is out of character, as does his ex-wife’s mother.
“She expresses shock at the allegations and says that throughout the eight years he lived with her daughter she never knew him to behave in such a way, and I think that is a matter of some significance,” Sweeney said.
Also notable was the lack of any further alleged offending after August 2021, which the judge said was somewhat unusual.
“Often in cases of allegations of domestic violence the conduct continues even after the separation or ending of the relationship, or attempt by, usually the complainant, to end the relationship,” Sweeney said.
Bettles denied the allegations and said the woman was lying due to her unhappiness about his infidelity early in their relationship, the court heard.
Sweeney granted him bail despite a letter from the woman detailing the woman’s fears if he was released.
“Part of her fear is based on him being a police officer and her concerns that he … (has or will) effectively manipulate the police force or members of it in his favour to place pressure on her,” the judge said.
But Sweeney did not believe there was a high risk of that happening as Bettles had not made any such attempts from custody.
He will be required to live with his family, who will escort him as he reports to police daily, attends court, meets with his lawyers and receives treatment.
Bettles has been ordered to attend when the case returns to Burwood Local Court in April.
NSW Police have said his employment status is under review.
Source: https://www.9news.com.au/national/cop-released-ahead-of-trial-on-rape-stalking-charges/5542b0f5-f129-49ac-b087-3a436ddaf9b3