'It's him or me. I'm leaving':Girl

THE mother of a 15-year-old schoolgirl, who accused her father of indecently assaulting her and rape, has revealed how she held fears for her partner’s deteriorating health and asked him to seek medical help.

“His mental condition was deteriorating,” she said at his trial in the Lismore District Court yesterday.

Her partner later kept telling her there was nothing wrong with him and he didn’t need to see a doctor.

The woman said this happened in February last year at a time when her daughter was texting her messages about her father’s strange behaviour, including him (wrongly) accusing her of stealing.

She said her daughter was frightened and threatened to leave, saying: “It’s him or me. I’m leaving.”

The woman had not known about her daughter’s allegations until contacted by the Department of Community Services.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Megan Cusack, the mother said she had never asked her daughter what she said to DoCS about the alleged incidents, and had never given her any indication that she did not believe her.

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

His daughter claims the offences occurred in 2006, 2008 and January last year.

A former school friend gave evidence the girl told her on a bus during a school excursion in 2006 that her father made her feel ‘uncomfortable’.

“That he always made her sit on his lap. Sort of emotionally forced her. She was scared to tell her mother because she was scared he would leave,” the young friend said.

“He felt her up or something. Oh, yes, she said he used to feel her.

“We’d only been friends a couple of weeks, but we had become close friends.

“I thought at first she might be lying about it as she was relaxed about it. She said it so casually.

“Then she got emotional about it.”

The witness said her friend was not crying, but did begin talking a bit quieter.

It was revealed the friend told her mother about the conversation when she went home and soon after, her mother contacted a DoCS phone hotline out of concern.

The trial continues today.

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