Daily Examiner

Court outburst after child sex verdict

A MOTHER screamed at a District Court judge and threatened the man in the dock after a not guilty verdict was given in a child sexual assault trial which ended in Grafton courthouse yesterday.

In a judge-alone trial, Judge Mark Marien found Richard Charles John McDermott, 76, of Grafton, not guilty of four counts of aggravated indecent assault of a child under authority and one of procuring a child for unlawful sexual activity.

"When you get out, you f______g rock spider, I'm going to get you," the woman yelled at McDermott.

Then she turned her attention to the judge: "The next kid he gets, it's on your f______g head."

A member of the court staff ushered the woman from the gallery. In an eerie counterpoint to the calmness of the court proceedings, the woman's screaming could be heard for several minutes.

On the four counts of aggravated indecent assault Judge Marien said the prosecution case relied entirely on the evidence of the complainant, whom he found to be an "impressive witness". But he said there were inconsistencies in his evidence around his claims to have told his mother about the sexualised conversations with McDermott. He said these problems convinced him he could not believe beyond reasonable doubt any evidence from the complainant, unless it was corroborated by an independent witness.

Judge Marien described McDermott as an impressive witness and said the prosecution had "not dented" his credibility under cross examination as the defence's only witness. When considering the count of procurement, the judge was persuaded by the defence framing of the charge as procurement.

He said the definition had to be that strictly defined in the legislation, NSW Crimes Act 1900 - Sect 66EB (2), which mean procuring a child to engage in unlawful sexual activity, meaning engaging in the acts for which the child was procured. Because of these factors the judge said he found the accused not guilty on counts one to five of the indictment.

McDermott remains in custody to face seven charges of contravening child protection prohibition orders.

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