Father is cleared of sex charges against daughter
A JURY spent three hours and five minutes deliberating over the fate of a man accused of regular sexual abuse against his biological daughter.
At 4.46pm yesterday he was found not guilty of eight sexual offences and one count of assault occasioning bodily harm while armed.
The sexual offences were alleged to have occurred in the 1990s and included maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16, six counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16, that involved exposing himself and pornography, and procuring a sexual act by coercion.
"You are discharged and you are free to go," Judge Brendan Butler said.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said "thank you very much", left the dock and hugged a woman, who was in court supporting him.
Over the two-day trial, defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan pointed out how the woman's story had changed over the years.
Years before making allegations against her father, the woman had accused her step-father of sexually abusing her.
Ms Hartigan said the woman's story "morphed" and "gained a life of its own to meet the circumstances".
The woman actually admitted, under cross examination, that she was a "skilful liar", the District Court in Mackay had heard.
She had a previous criminal history for dishonesty, the court was told.
The woman, who had been employed by a company, was jailed for creating an account in her father's name, which resulted in a bill worth more than $13,000, also in her father's name, Ms Hartigan told the court.
Ms Hartigan also told the court that even more serious was that the woman had stolen a work colleague's identity, which she used to obtain a loan.
She used the money to purchase a vehicle, Ms Hartigan said.
In another instance, she kept a company credit card after being fired, and attempted to use it.
1.26pm - Jury begins deliberations:
A JURY has begun deliberations after a two day trial for man accused of sexually assaulting his biological daughter in the 1990s.
Crown prosecutor Brendan Manttan and defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan closed their cases in the District Court in Mackay yesterday.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to nine sexual offences including maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16, six counts of indecent dealing with a child under 16 and procuring a sexual act by coercion.
Woman accuses father of sexual abuse, defence challenges
A DEFENCE barrister has challenged the credibility of a woman who accused her biological father of regular sexual abuse.
Bronwyn Hartigan told the jury the woman, now 28, was a "skilled liar" and a "convicted fraudster".
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the complainant, has pleaded not guilty to nine sexual offences alleged to have occurred in the Mackay District in the 1990s.
"The Crown case rises and falls on the complainant's evidence," Ms Hartigan said.
The woman's earlier complaints were not consistent with that she said now, which was "far in excess" of her earlier statements, Ms Hartigan said.
As a child, she said her father made her watch pornography, in a statement as part of a child custody hearing.
She had wanted to live with her mother, Ms Hartigan said.
Years earlier, she'd made claims to her mother that her step-father sexually abused her around the time she wanted to live with her father, the District Court in Mackay was told.
Ms Hartigan said the woman also gave three different versions of an incident involving a gun that was an "essential part" of her story. Her statement "morphed... gained a life of its own to meet the circumstances... "
Crown prosecutor Brendan Manttan told the jury: "You would expect some level of inconsistencies".
The woman's explanation for why she didn't say anything earlier was that "it's embarrassing to say that your father fondled you; it's humiliating", Mr Manttan said.
"You might find the simple answer is that she's telling the truth." The jury is expected to begin deliberations today.
EARLIER: Dad 'pointed rifle' at daughter, told her to perform sex
A WOMAN sat in the witness stand in the District Court in Mackay and revealed how her father pointed a rifle at her head, before putting the barrel into his mouth, and told her to perform oral sex.
A Mackay district man is accused of sexually abusing his daughter over a period of about six years.
During the first day of the District Court trial, the woman spoke about several incidents she said occurred when she was eight to 14 years old, while she lived with him.
The man, who can't be named to protect the identity of the woman, is accused of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16; six counts of indecently dealing with a child under 16, including one count of exposing himself and one count involving pornography; procuring a sexual act by coercion; and assault occasioning bodily harm while armed.
The woman, now 28, told the court the abuse started when the man would watch her in the shower and then started joining her.
One Christmas morning, she said he went into her bed and molested her.
"Every time he would come into my room, that's what I would experience," she said.
On another occasion he forced her to watch pornography with him and watch him masturbate, she told the court.
The woman also told the court of a time when her father pulled out his rifle and started knocking it on the side of her head.
"Then he put the rifle in his mouth, the barrel end," she said.
He told her he'd pull the trigger if she didn't perform oral sex.
During cross examination, the court heard the woman had served time in prison for fraud charges.
The District Court trial will continue today before a jury of five men and seven women.