More rape charges for Bendigo taxi driver

TWO more women have come forward claiming they were raped by Bendigo taxi driver Robert Byrnes.

Byrnes, 44, was remanded in the Bendigo Magistrates Court yesterday as he stood crying in the dock.

His bail, granted in the same court on Monday, was revoked.

Byrnes had originally been charged with one count each of rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault after picking up a woman in his taxi early Sunday morning.

The following day, he was bailed to next appear in court for a committal mention on December 9.

But at 5pm on Wednesday Byrnes was re-arrested and taken back into police custody.

Police say the media coverage of Byrne’s arrest had led to two more alleged victims making statements to police.

The new charge sheets show two further assaults which occurred in March and April this year, both in California Gully. It is not clear if Byrnes was working as a taxi driver at the time of these assaults.

Byrnes is charged with one count of digital rape, one count of indecent assault and one count of false imprisonment in relation to the first complainant.

The second incident is alleged to have taken place on Westwood Drive. Byrnes faces charges of trespass with the intent to assault, two counts of digital rape, two counts of indecent assault and one count of false imprisonment. In court yesterday, duty lawyer Kate Youngson said Byrnes was not in a position to make another application for bail.

“We are waiting for a witness for a bail application,” she said. “I’m hoping it can be deferred to Tuesday.”

Magistrate Jennifer Tregent said she would book off the application to Monday.

Byrnes stood in the dock with his head bowed for much of the proceedings, crying and wiping his eyes with a tissue.