Our client is a 51-year old man who resides with his family in Tamworth.
He was charged with multiple historical chid sexual offences against his sister in law, the complainant, which were claimed to have occurred between 1992 and 2002, when he was aged between 22 and 32 and the complainant was 9 to.
The charges were:
The prosecution claimed that six of the offences occurred at a property near Camden in South-Western Sydney, where our client and his family lived with the complainant until 2000.
The alleged offending included touching the complainant on her breasts, touching the outside of her vagina, placing his finger inside her vagina and penile/vaginal sexual intercourse.
Our client, his family and the complainant then moved to Tamworth.
The prosecution further claimed that four of the offences occurred in Tamworth between 2000 and and 2002.
The allegations relating to Tamworth included indecently touching the complainant on her breasts and the outside of her vagina, and placing her hand on our client’s penis, as well as penile/vaginal sexual intercourse.
The police officer in charge of the case took the complainant’s version of events as fact, making no effort to interview those who were alleged to have been at, or in the vicinity of, where the offences were claimed to have taken place.
Instead, our client was charged with the offences and the case was then referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The DPP failed to direct police to take these potentially relevant statements.
This was despite our client steadfastly maintaining his innocence from the date of his arrest, and providing information to the police which – if followed up – could have corroborated the facts.
Our defence team was left to undertake the necessary investigations.
We obtained multiple witness statements from those who could shed light on the veracity of the claims against our client.
These materials revealed a range of inconsistencies and factual errors with the complainant’s versions of the events, as did documents obtained by our team pursuant to subpoenas issued to a range of people, departments and organisations – including those linked to the complainant and our client.
These materials, taken as a whole, significantly undermined the complainant’s claims.
Despite writing ‘representations’ to the DPP (which is a formal document calling for the withdrawal of the charges) the prosecution saw fit to appease the complainant by taking the case to trial.
During the trial in Tamworth District Court, the complainant gave detailed testimony about each of the allegations.
One of the allegations was that our client sexually assaulted her during the Tamworth Music Festival in the year 2000.
During our extensive cross-examination of the complainant, she gave evidence which was inconsistent with her prior statements as well as her evidence in chief, and it became abundantly clear that she lacked credibility.
Among many other things, we established that our client was not even in Tamworth during the time of the 2000 Tamworth Festival, but in the suburb of Camden hundreds of kilometres away. This was done by way of alibi evidence in respect of which, and in accordance with the requirements of the law, our team had served the prosecution with an alibi notice.
Our client, on the other hand, gave credible, cogent and consistent evidence on the witness stand, as did the witnesses called by us – some of whom were at the Camden home when alleged sexual offences were supposed to have taken place. Their testimony significantly undermined the complainant’s assertions.
The witnesses we called also testified that the complainant showed an unusual interest in our client’s finances in the lead-up to her complaint, as our client was known to be a wealthy person.
This raised a motive for her complaint, as those who are proven to be the victims of sexual assault may be eligible for victims’ compensation, and/or compensation pursuant to civil proceedings.
During the second week of the trial, the presiding judge directed the jury to return verdicts of not guilty in respect of four of the ten charges on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to reach a verdict of guilty on the evidence presented in court.
The jury ultimately retired for deliberations in respect of the remaining six charges, returning not guilty verdicts for all of them within two hours.
Our team is now in the process of making an application for the reimbursement of our client’s legal costs.
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