Sexual assault charges proven

A JURY has found a 49-year-old Northern Rivers businessman guilty of having sex with his sister-in-law when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

The Lismore District Court jury took three hours to decide its verdict yesterday following a nine-day trial that had originally been set down for five days.

The man pleaded not guilty to 12 Crown charges that included seven counts of indecent assault and five counts of having sexual intercourse with a girl aged between 10 and under 16 – while she was under his authority.

During the trial one charge of sexual intercourse was withdrawn when no evidence was offered by the Crown.

The Jury found the man guilty of only three of the 11 charges – one count of indecent assault on December 27, 1998, and two counts of having sexual intercourse with a girl aged between 10 and 16 – when she was aged 15.

It did not find proven the aspect that she had been ‘under his authority’ at the time.

The now 27-year-old woman had accused the man (who later became her boyfriend) of committing the offences against her when she was aged 14 and 15.

Judge James Black thanked the Jury for its efforts, acknowledging the trial had gone much longer than the panel was originally informed.

He ordered a full presentence report be done on the man.

The trial heard how the man’s acknowledged later relationship with the girl from the (legal) age of 16 until she was 19 had caused a lot of trauma for the families, and the break-up of his marriage to the girl’s older sister.

Defence counsel Kate Traill said a psychological report would need to be done on her client. She applied for him to be allowed to continue his bail of $30,000 until the date of sentencing.

The Crown opposed bail.

Judge Black immediately revoked the man’s bail and adjourned his sentence to March 31.



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