DPP pays legal costs for man aquitted of child-sex charges
A URUNGA man acquitted of historic child-sex charges will have his legal costs covered by the DPP after a Sydney judge found the case should never have been brought before the courts.
The man, who cannot be named, was accused of sexually assaulting his daughter from the time she was as young as eight until she was a teenager.
The prosecution alleged frequent offending began in 1982 when the girl's mother was seriously injured and she moved in with her dad and step-mother in Sydney.
After a stint with her mother in Queensland the girl returned to her father's care.
It was alleged assaults continued and progressed to sexual intercourse around the time the girl was about 14.
She eventually moved but returned to Bellingen in the early 90s to be close to her father and his family.
In 2009 she made the allegations to local police.
The accused was arrested and charged with seven child-sex related offences.
Police tendered several statements as evidence of complaints made to the girl's mother, uncle and aunt along with a photograph of the man's penis which his daughter claimed showed an abnormality she noticed during one of the later assaults.
In the Sydney District Court last year, two of the charges were struck out and a jury found the accused not-guilty of the remaining five.
Throughout the trial the girl was questioned about the layout of the house, the routine of the house not permitting the assaults to occur and the delay of about 27 years in bringing the complaint to police.
A card sent from the girl to her father read "Your (sic) the best dad a girl could ask for. Thanks for being there when I need you! Remember, I am here for you whenever you need me too! Love you. Love you heaps and heaps and always will..."
Forensic examination of the man's penis revealed the abnormality was in a different area to the one described by the girl.
There was also evidence of "counter indicative" conduct of the complainant in returning to live with her father on two separate occasions given the claimed history of offending.
In hearing the costs application this week Judge Stephen Norrish found "ultimately, no substantial evidence that independently supported the complainant was produced at trial, but there was much evidence to contradict her.
He concluded that costs ought to be issued because "had the prosecution been in possession of the relevant facts, it would not have been reasonable to institute the proceedings".