Disgraced Aussie rules legend Barry Cable charged with historical sex crimes against nine-year-old girl

Tim Clarke
The Nightly
3 Min Read
The disgraced footballer is accused of five counts of indecent dealings with a child.

Disgraced Aussie Rules legend Barry Cable has been charged with historical sex crimes against a nine-year-old girl.

More than 10 months after a judge ruled Cable was a predatory paedophile in a civil court, WA Police arrested the 80-year-old on Friday and accused him of more sexual abuse.

The alleged victim in the new criminal charges is not one of the five women who told their harrowing stories during that trial in Perth’s District Court last year.

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The Nightly understands she came forward with her allegations after the ruling was made public.

And detectives have spent most of the last year investigating those allegations. That probe has included re-interviewing the other women who have accused the one-time Australian Football Hall of Famer.

And it is understood that four of them have agreed to cooperate with the criminal charges if required.

That could include an application for propensity evidence to be considered if and when the charges reach a court.

A statement released by WA Police on Friday stated that an 80-year-old man from Shelley – where Cable lives – has been charged with five counts of indecent dealing and two of unlawful carnal knowledge, in 1967 and 1968.

Cable would have been 24 at the time, and at the height of his footballing powers – winning premierships in both those years.

He is scheduled to appear in court for the first time next Thursday.

Last June, after decades of allegations and five years of litigation, a District Court judge stated in a bombshell judgment that he believed Cable — who turned 80 last September — was a prolific child abuser.

During a week-long civil trial, five separate women came forward to tell of how they had been abused by Cable in the 1960s and 70s, at the height of his footballing fame.

After listening to that evidence, Judge Mark Herron concluded that he believed those allegations.

The lead plaintiff told how she had been groomed and then abused by the former North Melbourne rover over five years of her childhood, beginning in 1968.

Barry Cable - 1978 Barry Cable who played 118 games with North Melbourne spoke to the players of Arden Street Oval before training last night.
Barry Cable played 118 games with North Melbourne. Credit: unknown/The West Australian

And she also recalled how she had originally taken her allegations to WA Police in 1998 — with prosecutors eventually declining to bring a prosecution, despite a detailed statement and diaries that corroborated some of what the woman said.

Judge Herron awarded her damages of more than $800,000, payable by Cable. But he has not paid a cent, after declaring bankruptcy days before the trial began

Days after the judgment, Police Commissioner Col Blanch confirmed that his officers were revisiting the case.

“We have got to make sure we take every step appropriately through this and support any victim of any sex offence as best we can. Because ultimately, we want justice when there is a suspicion of a crime being committed,” he said at the time.

“If we are to go to court and be successful — we would have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt.

AFL Hall of Fame Legend, Barry Cable, waves to the crowd during a lap of honour during the AFL Round 16 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Carlton Blues at Eithad Stadium, Melbourne. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
More than ten months after a judge ruled Cable was a predatory paedophile in a civil court, the 80-year-old was on Friday arrested and accused of more sexual abuse. Credit: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media

“So it’s a much higher standard of proof. And all that means is our evidence has to be spot on. And we have to convince either a judge or a jury that this offence was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Nightly understands the main plaintiff in the civil case against Cable has been in regular contact with sex crime detectives. On hearing the news about Cable’s criminal charges, she said she felt “a bit wobbly.”

Cable declined to attend or defend the civil trial with a lawyer, instead sending a statement to the court maintaining his innocence and citing “inconsistencies, the surprise witnesses and my inability to defend the case.”

Following the District Court ruling last year, Cable was stripped of his Australian Football Hall of Fame status, North Melbourne dumped him from their Hall of Fame, and his berth in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame was removed.

He was also removed from the Western Australian Institute of Sport Hall of Champions, and the West Australian Football Commission Hall of Fame.

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