Button rape charges thrown out

By EVAN SCHWARTEN

RAPE charges against accused murderer Joseph Garrett Button were thrown out in the Rockhampton Supreme Court yesterday.

Justice Peter Dutney yesterday ruled the jury would not be able to convict Button on two counts of raping nine-year-old Kimberley Griffin despite traces of sperm, believed to be the defendant's, found on the girl.

He said while there was strong evidence to suggest Kimberley had been sexually assaulted, it was not possible to determine whether she was alive at the time of the offence.

He cited results from a postmortem examination of Kimberley's body which found her vagina was not damaged by the attack as evidence she did not struggle.

Button still faces charges of murdering Kimberley and her 13year-old brother on October 15, 2001.

It's alleged he lured the children to an isolated part of Mt Archer National Park under the promise of searching for Didgeridoo wood before strangling them and throwing their bodies from a cliff.

He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Defence and prosecution finalised their cases yesterday with Button's counsel Paul Richards re-iterating the defendant was not in control of his actions at the time of the offence.

He used evidence from psychiatrist Ian Curtis who last week testified Button was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

But prosecutor David Meredith disputed the claim saying Button's actions on the day indicated he knew what he was doing.

The trial is expected to retire to consider a verdict today.



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