A civil case alleging that the Queen's representative in Australia raped a woman 40 years ago was dismissed by a court yesterday after her surviving relatives withdrew the lawsuit.
But the decision will not ease pressure on the Governor General, Peter Hollingworth, to resign as the country's nominal head of state. He has also been facing calls to quit over his mishandling of paedophile cases while he was the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane in the 1990s.
Rosemarie Anne Jarmyn, 57, filed the lawsuit earlier this year alleging that Dr Hollingworth, as a young Anglican priest, raped her at a church youth camp in the 1960s - something he has denied.
Details of the allegations first became public this month, following the woman's death in April, reportedly by suicide. Dr Hollingworth stepped aside from his post, vowing to fight the allegations.
In an address televised nationally yesterday, Dr Hollingworth said he was vindicated by the court result but would not say when or whether he would resume his duties. "Now that this [rape] accusation has been disposed of, I am able to give proper consideration to my longer term tenure of Governor General of Australia," Dr Hollingworth said.
But there were still calls for him to quit following an Anglican church inquiry which said that while he was Brisbane's archbishop, he had allowed a known paedophile to continue working as a priest.
The leader of the federal opposition Labor Party, Simon Crean, said: "If the Governor General doesn't resign, the Prime Minister has no excuse but to dismiss him."
Dr Hollingworth has admitted to "errors of judgement" in his handling of paedophile cases while archbishop but has defied the calls to resign.
Julian Burnside, a lawyer for three children of the alleged rape victim, said the family decided to withdraw the lawsuit in the state of Victoria's Supreme Court after being confronted with the massive publicity that surrounded the case.
Justice Bernard Bongiorno dismissed the case, and added that it "would have been difficult to prove the allegation in the absence of the deceased".
According to a court document lodged by Jarmyn before her death, she identified Dr Hollingworth from an old photograph which appeared in a June 1964 Anglican newsletter. Dr Hollingworth said earlier this month that he was never at the youth camp where the alleged rape occurred.(AP)
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