Antonio inquest: Hytch's sister accused of lying
BARRISTER Bronwyn Hartigan has accused a woman of lying to a Queensland Crime Commission to protect her brother Robert Hytch.
Colleen Aberson (nee Hytch) was the first witness called yesterday during the Rachel Antonio inquest.
She'd told a QCC hearing she'd seen grease on her brother Robert's shorts when he returned to the family home for their younger brother's 18th birthday about 7.45pm Anzac Day, 1998 - the same evening Rachel went missing.
Mr Hytch was absent from the party for a time.
He'd said his car had broken down, the Coronial Court was previously told.
But Ms Aberson, in a previous statement, told police that she didn't see any grease on his shorts.
"I can't recall that now," she said.
When Ms Hartigan, representing Rachel's parents Ian and Cheryl Antonio, asked if
she deliberately changed her evidence to say she saw grease on his shorts, she refused to answer after being warned her evidence might incriminate her.
David O'Connell said it was in the public interest for her to answer and directed her to.
"I can't remember being there," Ms Aberson said.
She told counsel assisting the coroner John Aberdeen "to this day" she believed Sidney Pate was involved in the 16-year-old's disappearance.
Not long after making this statement, she said: "I believed at the time and I still do now that she ran away."
"Which one do you believe?" Mr Aberdeen asked.
Ms Aberson said it was her "opinion" that Mr Pate "had an involvement" in her disappearance.
Mr Aberdeen fired off question after question about her relationship to Rachel, what she knew of Rachel's relationship with her brother, what she told police and what she said during a Queensland Crime Commission hearing, to which Ms Aberson mostly responded with "I can't remember".
He said Mrs Aberson's memory had been "deliberately selective".
Ms Aberson described Rachel as a "whinger" and "very strange".
"Your memory seems to be quite good about some things 16 years ago," Mr Aberdeen said.
Mr Aberdeen accused Ms Aberson of giving "coloured" evidence to police and the Queensland Crime Commission to protect Robert Hytch.
"Since Anzac Day 1998 you have done everything you can to try to protect Robert haven't you," Mr Aberdeen said.