Step-father admits to having sex

A HERVEY Bay man who admitted to having sex with his teenage step-daughter has walked out of Hervey Bay District Court after a jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child.

Crown prosecutor Ken Spinaze said the case would not proceed to re-trial.

The girl, who is now 21, told police she lost her virginity to her step-father when she was 15.

But the 44-year-old defendant, who cannot be named, said he started sleeping with the girl after she turned 18.
 
A jury in Hervey Bay District Court heard the sordid details of the relationship when the young woman gave evidence last week.

She said her step-father had made sexual advances towards her from the age of 14 and coerced her into having sex with him when she was 15, then coming into her room an average of twice a week for sex.

“He said everything would be okay, that it would be our little secret.” she said.

A taped interview between the defendant and Senior Constable Andrew Self was also played during the trial.

The man said he had grown apart from the girl’s mother, who he hadn’t slept with for years.

“She and I just found each other,” he said during the interview.

“We were always very close and like mates as she got older.

“We cuddled a bit and gave each other back rubs.

“We made love after she turned 18.

“It was a mutual thing.

“She came to my room. I never forced myself on that girl at all.”

The court heard that the man’s younger daughter walked past her father’s bedroom late one night and saw the pair having sex.

The younger girl told police she was so horrified by what she saw that she didn’t sleep for weeks.

Crown prosecutor Ken Spinaze said the defendant’s statement about the girl’s age was not believable.
“He admitted to having a sexual relationship,” Mr Spinaze said.

“He’s trying to minimise the involvement he had with his step-daughter.”

“It’s bad enough he was sleeping with a young girl he helped raise with his de-facto wife; it’s bad enough he was doing it behind the back of his wife ... and in front of his other children.

“He’s corrupted a young girl – she was a child, he was an adult – and he did it for his own sexual gratification.”
Defence barrister David Murray, however, told the jury the alleged victim was lying when she said she was only 15 at the time of the first sexual encounter.

“She told lies in her evidence and acknowledges that,” Mr Murray said.

“She lied because she was having a voluntary sexual relationship with the defendant and she didn’t want to admit it.
“Nothing that went on after she was 16 years of age has anything to do with this charge.
 
“You don’t convict someone because something is wrong.”

“You’ve got to give judgement based on the evidence, not on some sort of disgust, community values or moral outrage.”

The jury retired to deliberate at midday on Monday and returned to the court-room that afternoon to hear the complainant’s evidence a second time.

Despite several hours deliberating the jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.


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