Lawyers claim judge was unfair in sex-crime trial

LAWYERS for a Mackay miner who was convicted of indecently dealing with his stepdaughter have argued that a judge crossed the line at his trial which ultimately persuaded the jury of the man's guilt.

The Mackay miner is appealing his conviction and sentence after he was found guilty last year of indecently dealing with the girl who is from Ipswich.

His barrister, Soraya Ryan, told the Court of Appeal that during the trial the jury was played video footage of the victim being cross-examined.

The girl was about 16 years old when she gave evidence, which was recorded before a judge before the trial began. It is believed the offences occurred when the girl was aged about nine.

The man cannot be named for legal reasons to protect her identity.

Ms Ryan said that in the footage of the girl giving evidence, the overseeing judge made comments that showed she was not happy with the defence's questions, Ms Ryan said on Wednesday.

She also said it was clear the judge sided with the girl because she made comments to the victim such as "are you right to keep going", "tell me if you want to stop", and "are you right, can you hang on" while the defence lawyers asked questions.

Ms Ryan said it was an accumulation of comments from the judge which could have influenced a jury.

"There was one instance where defence counsel was attempting to put his case that her honour asked the prosecutor how long cross-examination was expected to go," Ms Ryan said.

"For the jury to be exposed to that question … it carried a clear indication that things were going on too long."

Ms Ryan said the judge in the video footage caused an unfair imbalance and that lawyers during the trial did not pick up on it.

She said the evidence should not have been played to the jury, or the judge's comments should have been edited out.

"(The judge's comments) disabled the jury's ability to consider matters uninfluenced by what they were likely to have perceived as her impression of the defence in this matter."

The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision.


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