It seems that the verdict is out with respect to Carol Stingel’s claim against Geoff Clark – Clark is liable to pay Ms Stingel $20,000 damages in respect of post-traumatic stress suffered as a result of a 1971 gang rape which Clark is alleged to have led. Regular readers may recall reading a post on the High Court’s decision last year in July which allowed Ms Stingel to proceed with her claim.
It should be emphasised that Mr Clark’s liability is not criminal. He has not been found guilty of a crime, which would require him to be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt (the criminal standard). Rather he has been found liable to pay damages on the balance of probabilities, a lower standard of proof (the civil standard).
I had heard about allegations of rape and sexual assault against Clark in 2000 from an acquaintance of indigenous background (before any allegations had been publicised in The Age). When I questioned how a man could become head of ATSIC without these allegations being made public, my “source” said people were scared of Clark. Of course, this doesn’t prove anything whatsoever, and one must be very wary of believing gossip and scuttlebutt. However, it is interesting that such allegations were apparently “common knowledge” in the Victorian Aboriginal community at that time.