Attorneys for swim coach Scott Volkers have asked an Australian court to permanently stay new charges against their client that were filed in 2017, arguing that the reinstitution of charges without new evidence amount to “unjustifiable oppression.”
Volkers was first publicly accused of abusing girls under the age of 16 in 2002, when he was charged based on allegations of mistreatment in the 1980s. He was then charged again in 2017 with 5 counts of indecent treatment of a child, with accusations including that he inappropriately touched swimmers in a massage room in the 1980s.
The new charges relate to the same accusations that resulted in the 2002 charges, and Volkers’ attorneys argue that without new evidence, the new case amounts to “unjustifiable oppression” of their client. His attorneys also argued that the publicity around the 2002 charges, and the subsequent dropping of those charges and investigations into the process, would mean a trial would be unfair to Volkers.
The Department of Public Prosecutions, Australia’s prosecutorial arm, says that it is in the public’s best interest to continue with the prosecution, and that they believe that the case has a chance of succeeding.
More than 80 witnesses are expected to give evidence if the matter goes to trial, according to The Australian.
Volkers first rose to fame as the coach of 8-time Olympic medalist Susie O’Neill, who has not made any public accusation against Volkers. While never criminally convicted, he has been refused a “blue card” in Australia, which prevents him from working with children in the country. He did continue to hold positions at the Queensland Academy of Sport and within Swimming Queensland until 2010. He then moved to Brazil, where he served as the head coach of Minas Tenis Club until 2016. The Australian Olympic Committee asked Brazil to leave him off the roster for the 2016 Olympic Games, and while he coached at the pre-Olympic camp, he was denied accreditation to the Games themselves.
At the time, he was coaching swimmers like Nicolas Oliveira and World Record holder Cesar Cielo.