Kenneth Ralph Ernst awaits his fate after a twist in his sentence on 11 child sexual abuse charges.
Kenneth Ralph Ernst awaits his fate after a twist in his sentence on 11 child sexual abuse charges.

Major twist in Kenneth Ernst child abuse sentence

A COURT has been told by a convicted child abuser's family that a juror felt "intimidated" into their guilty verdict yesterday.

Kenneth Ralph Ernst hopes to apply for bail this afternoon, despite being convicted by a jury of 11 sexual offences committed against a teenage girl in the 1990s.

Maroochydore District Court judge Tony Moynihan said it was not for his court to decide whether there had been a miscarriage of justice, but he took submissions on whether an investigation into the jury deliberations should be ordered.

The defence pushed for an investigation, with defence barrister Peter Mylne saying he received instructions from the

Director of Public Prosecutions not to take a position on whether one should go ahead.

This is yet to be decided, and Ernst's fate in the immediate future is still unclear.

Mr Mylne said should Mr Ernst's sentence be adjourned, he wished to apply for bail with strict conditions he report daily, not come within 50m of his victim and surrender his passport.

Crown prosecutor Rebecca Marks pushed for the sentence to proceed, and reiterated Ernst had been convicted by a jury.

"The information that has been able to be identified that could perhaps lead to this investigation has come from the family of the defendant," she said.

She said ordinarily, when dealing with historical sexual abuse, the defendant would be serving a significant time in prison.

Judge Moynihan responded: "This case is now a little bit outside the ordinary".

Court resumes at 2.30pm.



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