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Court generic

Jury finds Gympie man not guilty of raping 6yo daughter

A GYMPIE man accused of raping his daughter when she was six, walked from Gympie District Court on Friday, after a jury found him not guilty.

The man cannot be named under laws protecting the identity of the alleged victim.

The verdict on Friday followed successful defence submissions that some parts of the prosecution evidence were internally contradictory and in places "just ridiculous."

Defence barrister Simone Bain referred to "inconsistencies and unusual features" and "clear flaws in the evidence of the girl and her mother."

She said the girl's mother had referred to having to encourage the man to see his daughter, something which Ms Bain said was inconsistent with the degree of sexual attraction alleged.

"So there's an obvious flaw in that story already - If (the man) was this sexual predator, you'd think he would be chasing down every opportunity to have access to his daughter. That's simply not what happened.

The man had already given evidence of a dispute with the mother, saying he had gone to Centrelink and was, falsely he said, accused by a Centrelink officer of abandoning his child and not contributing to her support.

After he denied this to the officer, the girl's mother expressed anger at the man's having told Centrelink details which she said were damaging to her, adding that she would damage him in response, the man told the court in his evidence.

Ms Bain said the mother's claim that she was not familiar with the substance of her daughter's complaint to police was inconsistent with police evidence of a statement the mother had made to an officer prior to that, in which she had given details of her daughter's allegations.

Her evidence "defies common sense and logic. It really just doesn't add up," Ms Bain said.

She said the jury, to convict, must be convinced "beyond reasonable doubt" of the father's guilt.

It was a standard which jurors would want applied to themselves if they were accused of a criminal offence, she said.

"If you think something might have happened, then you're not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt and you must acquit.

"If you think that (he) probably did something, that is not enough.

"Please don't think you're doing him a favour or letting down the community if you acquit him (because of) reasonable doubts.

"Your decision is final. It's no good thinking later that maybe he shouldn't have been convicted. It's too late."

Crown Prosecutor Aleksandra Nicolic said the girl's evidence and her mother's "remained clear and consistent."

She said jurors could convict if they found the girl's evidence to be honest and reliable.

"You saw and heard (her) give evidence and you can make your assessment.

"(She) presented as a genuine and reserved girl" who had shown emotions that were understandable and consistent.

The jury, which retired before lunch to consider its verdict, returned with an acquittal after the break.

Gympie Times

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