20 minutes to decide on stepdad accused of teen rape
A TRADIE accused of raping his teenage stepdaughter numerous times held back tears as a jury acquitted him of all charges.
The 32-year-old man threw his head back in relief yesterday as the jury of six men and six women returned verdicts of not guilty on 12 charges, including four counts of rape, after a three-day trial in the Southport District Court.
In the back of the courtroom, the man's mother cried openly, at times sobbing as each "not guilty'' verdict was announced.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the girl, declined to comment to the Bulletin when leaving court, saying only that he wanted to "move on".
He was accused of raping or sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter on five occasions when she was aged 13-16.
In her closing remarks before the jury headed out for deliberation, the man's barrister Simone Bain, instructed by Jacobson Mahony Lawyers, asked them to pay close attention to inconsistencies in the girl's statement.
Ms Bain said the girl had the opportunity to live with her father but chose to return to her mother and stepfather.
"Why willingly return to her mother's house where she is going to be subjected to ongoing rape and sexual abuse?" Ms Bain said.
"She said from the beginning she was scared and trying to avoid (her stepfather)."
Ms Bain said the girl was trying to impress a friend by making up the allegations.
But an aunt overheard the girls talking and told the girl's father, who took her to police.
"She was trapped in a lie and she cannot get out of it," she said.
During the trial the stepfather gave evidence and told the court the thought of the allegations made him "feel sick".
The man said that before the girl had gone to police, he thought he had a good relationship with her.