COURT: Man found not guilty of raping girlfriend's child
A MAN accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend's nine-year-old daughter in his caravan has been found not guilty.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced Maryborough District Court this week charged with rape and indecent treatment.
The jury heard extensive testimony along with audio and video recordings of the complainant.
The accusations came to light when the girl told a school friend she had been raped by her mother's boyfriend, the court heard.
The friend then told a teacher, who reported the matter to the deputy principal at the girl's school.
Police soon became involved.
The court heard the assault happened in a caravan in 2011, two years before the accusations were made, where the man was living behind the Maryborough home of the girl's father.
The girl said she went to play video games with the defendant.
He was accused of putting his finger into her vagina and exposing his penis.
The court heard the girl had told police and the deputy principal that she had informed her sister and mother of the assault after it happened.
But both her sister and mother said they had no knowledge of the accusation until they were informed by police.
During her testimony, the girl's sister said it wasn't unusual for them to play video games in the caravan.
After the court heard testimony from the girl's sister, the school friend, a police officer who interviewed the young girl and the deputy principal, the prosecutor and defence barrister gave their closing statements yesterday.
After it was suggested by the prosecutor that the conversations about the assault may have been forgotten in the time between then and the police asking for statements, defence barrister Paul Rutledge said it was unlikely the mother and sister would forget such a conversation.
"You would take that with you until the end of your days," he said.
Mr Rutledge also challenged the child's statement that she had been assaulted in the caravan with her father and siblings in the house just 40 metres away.
He said there would have been a very high risk of detection, which most people who committed crimes of the type his client was accused of were very aware of.
"The caravan was just a short distance away," he said.
"Anyone could have come to the open door."
Mr Rutledge argued it would make more sense if the crime happened at night when everyone else was asleep or when there was nobody at home.
After hearing the closing statements, the jury returned and asked to watch the audio and video recordings of the girl's testimony again.
Soon after they returned with a verdict of not guilty.