The original police file about an investigation into claims two girls were raped 33 years ago no longer exists and two former officers who interviewed the teenagers have no memories of the case, a court has heard.
Police allege Theodoros Tsalkos raped two sex workers, then aged 15 and 16, in Elwood and Balaclava after picking them up in St Kilda in a red Holden Torana on May 7, 1987.
The friends began being sex workers four days earlier. One of the complainants has since died.
Mr Tsalkos, 59, was on Tuesday committed to stand trial on 27 charges including four counts each of rape and aggravated rape, as well as unlawful imprisonment, assault and making threats to kill. He pleaded not guilty after a two-day committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Court documents say police believe there is extremely strong evidence, based on forensic testing conducted since 2012, that DNA samples show Mr Tsalkos was the offender. Magistrate Luisa Bazzani on Tuesday said the DNA evidence linked Mr Tsalkos to the allegations, and found there was sufficient evidence for him to stand trial.
Two former police officers on Tuesday told the court they had no independent memories of their involvement in the case as part of the sexual offences squad and had to rely on notes made at the time.
Retired police officer June Hopley said she wrote the girls appeared "very streetwise" and that one of them was "adamant and convincing" in an initial statement that she was not working as a sex worker.
According to her notes, Ms Hopley told the girl her case would be investigated properly even if the pair were sex workers, and the girl made another statement the following day.
Ms Hopley and another retired officer, Susan Leatham, separately told the court they had no memories of the case, of speaking with the girls or of ferrying samples taken by a doctor to the police laboratory for analysis. Ms Hopley's only recollection of the case was one girl saying she wanted to go home to feed her cats.
The retired doctor who took the samples, former police surgeon James MacLeod, also could not recall some details of the case. He said his notes showed he had no record of one girl being raped, although the notes said she told him she had sex and had been threatened.
Dr MacLeod's notes said he found scratches and a bruise on the girls and believed they could have occurred before the date of the alleged rapes.
Detective Senior Constable Phil Drews, the current lead investigator, said the original police file no longer existed as it was Victoria Police's practice at the time to destroy files after seven years.
"It may have been seven years or some time after that, but at the time those files would have been destroyed," he said.
The detective could not say how many people were considered persons of interest but DNA evidence led police to one man who would have been 23 at the time. Mr Tsalkos was 25 at the time.
The younger man was the "minor contributor" in a DNA sample, Senior Detective Drews said, which indicated the man had sex with one of the girls before the alleged rapes. He was later ruled out as a suspect by the original lead investigator, the court heard.
Police allege Mr Tsalkos attacked the girls in his car and at a public toilet. He also allegedly told them: "I'm going to get a knife and you're going to die, I'm going to stab you."
Police say the girls eventually got out of the car, ran to a friend's home in St Kilda and rang police.
Mr Tsalkos, of Mill Park, is on bail and due to appear before the County Court on February 16, when a trial date will be set.
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