Convicted beach groper says verdict unreasonable
AN ELDERLY Mormon convicted of groping a 14-year-old girl on the beach's appeal turns on the word "tried”.
Allan Thomas Atkinson was found guilty at Maroochydore District in 2018 of indecently treating a child.
A jury found in 2015 Atkinson had approached the 14-year-old girl on Alexandra Headlands beach where he began talking to her. But despite the girl telling him to leave her alone he was found to have placed his hand on her shoulder before placing it on her breast for about three seconds.
The girl then got upset and she walked away.
Atkinson appealed his conviction in Queensland Court of Appeal on Thursday.
But Atkinson's barrister Michael Copley said the first person the young girl told of the incident was her older sister, who said in court she was told Atkinson had "tried to touch her boob”.
Mr Copley said it was unreasonable for a jury to have come to a guilty verdict when the first person the alleged victim told said there was an attempt to grab her breast, but not that Atkinson had in fact touched her.
Mr Copley said as the older sister had not gone through a "traumatic” interaction she was more likely to have the best recollection of the conversation.
The court heard the older girl's testimony was that she did not "remember (her sister's) exact words but it was something like someone had tried to touch her and she was really scared”.
But Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco said there were multiple other witnesses that backed up the alleged victim's evidence that Atkinson had touched her breast.
Ms Marco also pointed to the alleged victim's initial evidence that had consistently maintained Atkinson had touched her.
When Atkinson was found guilty he told the court he had "strong morals” due to his lifelong membership of the Mormon church.
The court will deliver its decision at a later date. -NewsRegional