Girl's grief over sex assaults

“HE’S still my dad. I still love him.”

These were the words a teenage girl cried as she gave evidence before a jury at Lismore District Court yesterday.

Now 15, the girl has accused her father of sexually assaulting her since she was 12. She gave evidence from a secure room watched by the jury on a video screen.

Her father, 59, is pleading not guilty to three counts of indecent assault on a child aged under 16; and one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

His daughter alleged the offences were in 2006, 2008, and in January 2009.

Asked by the Crown in the final moments of her evidence why she had not told her mother about some of the allegations she replied: “Mum believed dad, that he hadn’t done anything, which really hurt me.

“I thought why bother, no one will believe me and he’ll just get his way. I love him. He’s been my primary career since I was born.”

“Even though he has committed these offences?” asked the Crown.

“He’s still my dad, I still love him,” she replied.

The girl spent yesterday cross-examined by defence barrister Megan Cusack who put it to her that she fabricated the allegations and told lies in order to get her father out of the house. She denied the barrister’s assertions.

“You knew that if your dad wasn’t home anymore you could do what you like, see your boyfriend when you liked. No one to hassle you about your bag or length of uniform. And you would have free run of the house,” Ms Cusack said.

The girl said she had not changed any of her behaviours since living at the home without her father.

She strongly denied the defence argument, saying she had wanted her father to be at home but did not want him to be like that, and knew he needed help.

She said her father had been acting strangely with delusions and health problems, had made threats against her and of harming himself. His drinking had also worsened.

“I was scared for my life. I don’t want to be threatened,” she said.

In the final alleged incident in January this year the girl said her father sexually accosted her in the bathroom of their home.

The girl said after crying in her room, she composed herself and although she did not want to, she said ‘I thought if I really have to do this I might as well get some reward for it’. She acknowledged she used the incident to get her father to give permission for her boyfriend to come over.

After attending sex education classes at school the girl said she knew what good and bad touching was.

She said the first complaint made against her father in 2006 was a bad touch.

The jury trial before Judge James Black continues today.

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