Witnesses recall warning Peel Health Campus accused not to be alone with teenage girl

File pic
File pic

The night before Shaun Fairfield is alleged to have sexually assaulted a teenage girl in his care at Peel Health Campus, the 37-year-old was warned by a colleague to take a patient care assistant (PCA) with him when he took the girl outside to “cover his own a***e”.

Giving evidence in the Perth District Court on Monday, the woman, an orderly at Peel Health Campus, said she had raised her concerns about Mr Fairfield being alone with the girl outside to the accused, and also to a work mate and the chief nurse.

The offences are alleged to have happened on May 16-17, 2014 while the girl was a patient in the emergency department.

At the time, Mr Fairfield was employed as a security guard at the hospital.

According to three witnesses who all worked the night shift at the time the alleged offences were happening, under-aged patients, patients with dementia, or psychiatric patients were supposed to be accompanied by a PCA at all times.

On Monday the court heard no PCA was present when the girl went outside for hours at a time, in the dead of night, with Mr Fairfield.

The PCA assigned to the girl on May 16 said she had offered to take the patient outside for fresh air, but the girl declined, going instead with Mr Fairfield.

When cross-examined by defence counsel, the witness said it was her “duty to be with [the girl] all the time”.

Another witness, also a PCA at Peel Health Campus, said she had never seen security guards take underage patients outside “like that” before.

She said patients such as the alleged victim normally had a PCA with them.

The witness said she told Mr Fairfield he should have a PCA with him when walking outside with the girl.

The same witness also raised concerns to the chief nurse on duty that night, but no action had been taken.

During the first day of the trial the court also heard from a security guard who had worked the same shift as Mr Fairfield on May 16/17.

The guard said Mr Fairfield and the girl were outside the emergency department for “maybe a couple of hours” that night.

He also said it was not uncommon for security guards to take patients outside if the PCA was too busy.

Earlier in the day the court heard from the girl’s school psychologist, who described the teenager as “extremely fragile” and “vulnerable”.

The girl’s mother then took the stand and said her daughter, who had “five or six” previous trips to the emergency department due to self harming, had made no mention of the alleged assaults until September 3, 2014, when police called her to inform her of the allegations made by the girl.

The court heard in the prosecution’s opening remarks that the girl’s claims came to light following a call to a help line which had mandatory reporting requirements.

The girl also reportedly spoke to a classmate about the alleged offences.

Mr Fairfield has denied all the allegations made by the girl, with his defence team telling the jury there were “inconsistencies” in the girl’s memory.

The girl is expected to be called as a witness on Tuesday when the trial continues.