GUILTY. That word, pronounced by a jury today, has convicted a man of having a three-year sexual relationship with his niece.
It has also divided a family forever.
The girl, who was seven to ten years old at the time, accused her Uncle of "poking" her in the vagina on a regular basis between May 27, 2007and June 1, 2010.
She also claimed he asked her to touch his genitals, but she refused.
It was a family arrangement the girl attend her Uncle's house after school if her parents were unable to pick her up.
This was estimated to be up to three times a week.
She said the abuse occurred, "nearly every time."
The man was aged in-between 49 to 52 at the time.
The announcement of the guilty verdict provoked a dramatic response from friends and family sitting in Gladstone District Court.
The man's daughter, who collapsed into hysterical sobbing, had to be escorted from the court-room.
He himself burst into tears and told Judge Brad Farr SC, "I didn't do it."
In stark contrast, on the other side of the court-room, the girl's immediate family was immensely relieved.
As the girl's mother told The Observer, "I can go home and tell my daughter she was believed. They believed her."
Judge Farr SC said the man had breached the family trust "in the most hideous way."
"Your behaviour has clearly torn a family apart."
The man was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment.
Located in the highly desirable Byron Hinterland just ten minutes from Bangalow and with Byron Bay, Lennox Head and Ballina airport all within easy reach, this...
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