Scar may hold key in sex abuse case
POLICE will undertake a forensic procedure on a woman who is facing child abuse allegations.
The woman appeared before Lismore Local Court last week when a hearing was held into a forensic procedure.
The Queensland resident stands charged along with her husband of sexually assaulting a girl on the Northern Rivers between the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Her solicitor, Alexandra Sarmed, opposed an application for police to be allowed to undertake a "forensic procedure” relating to the case.
The court heard this procedure would involve photographing the woman's bare chest in a bid by police to support the allegations against her.
Prosecutor Sergeant Ferreira said the alleged victim claimed she had seen the scar "at the relevant time of the offences” when the woman "was in a state of undress in the area of the identifiable feature”.
"It would be remiss of the prosecution not to seek this evidence,” he said.
He said while the defence claimed the woman had "lesser participation” in the alleged assaults, police would allege she had actively participated in the incidents, including helping her husband to have intercourse with the girl.
He said the photograph police sought could have a significant impact on the case.
"If the defendant doesn't have the scar, that would seriously undermine the evidence of the victim,” he said.
"If the defendant does have that scar as described... that would lend considerable force (to the allegations).”
Ms Sarmed argued the alleged victim's description of the possible scar was "unremarkable”.
"It would not be something that would prove or disprove the offence,” she said.
She suggested there were also "other explanations” why the defendant may see a scar, if she indeed had one matching the description given by the complainant.
This could include the girl witnessing her client breastfeeding, she said.
She suggested the photograph may not be admissible before a trial.
Magistrate David Heilpern said the admissibility of evidence that would go before a District Court trial was not a matter for him to determine.
He ruled in favour of police, finding there were reasonable grounds that the photograph would tend to either prove or disprove the testimony of the alleged victim.
He also found allowing the procedure was justified, after balancing the interest of the prosecution with the "physical integrity” of the defendant.