Author: Phillip Gibson
Wagga Wagga District Court
Represented by Solicitor: Phillip Gibson, Accredited Specialist Criminal Law
Case Facts: Our client charged with sexual assault and a number of aggravated indecent assaults upon his daughter, alleged to have occurred during contact visits many years ago. This type of matter is known as an historic sexual assault matter. The complainant disclosed to relatives by on-line chat, and subsequently gave 4 statements to police as well as having her initial complaint recorded on video. She complained to her best friend. She did not initially complain of sexual assault and in fact denied that she was sexually assaulted. Months later she complained after having an argument with her mother. JIRT (Joint Investigation Response Team) arranged for the complainant to be medically examined. The accused was then the subject of police charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault and Aggravated Indecent Assault and granted conditional bail.
Due to the age of the complainant, it was not possible to have her called to the Local Court to be cross examined at a committal hearing. The matter proceeded by way of waiver of committal and the client was committed to stand trial by way of jury trial in the Wagga Wagga District court.
Case Result The matter was listed for a trial. Fortunately, the evidence of complaint to the best friend was taken by police by video. The version by the complainant suggested highly inappropriate touching. The best friend said otherwise – and gave a sordid account of sexual acts including forced oral sex, digital penetration, masturbation and other abhorrent acts, Police had re-interviewed the complainant after interviewing the best friend – obviously they had difficulties reconciling what the alleged victim said with the significantly more serious version given by her friend. Once again, the complainant did not mention any of the sexual acts. How could these two ‘stories’ sit together? The complainant’s version was noticeably different to the version recorded on the chat room text. It seemed that every time the ‘story’ was re-told, it was different. There were other twists and turns in the case which cannot be revealed, though it could easily be established that despite the alleged acts of sexual depravity, the complainant would voluntarily come to visit her father with his new partner. The final piece of unbelievable evidence was the complaint to the doctor which was vastly different to what had been previously alleged, providing yet another different version. It was only in the fourth version by the alleged victim that there was any suggestion of sexual assault. On the strength of that final complaint, the accused was charged.
The jury took a suitably short time to return verdicts of not guilty. We were that confident of winning that written costs submissions had been prepared prior to the accused giving evidence. This comes from experience and solid preparation for trial. the maximum penalty for aggravated sexual assault is 20 years imprisonment. these serious charges carry standard non-parole periods for persons found guilty at trial. In this case, the standard non-parole period is 10 years, Our client would have faced many years in gaol if these ‘stories’ had been believed. Phillip Gibson is an accredited criminal law specialist and travels to courts all over NSW including Wagga Court as a specialist criminal lawyer fighting to prevent injustice.
The utter nonsense of this complaint still ended up being prosecuted by jury trial, despite the obvious lies and deception of the vindictive, calculating, dishonest and utterly unbelievable daughter. Her motivation to lie was probably best explained by the acrimonious breakdown of the marriage and the totally dysfunctional lifestyle of her natural mother. The mother’s background, criminal history and involvement in drug use was certainly made known to the jury. The accused had never been in trouble in his life.
Without proper representation, the client would have risked an unbearable and unjust outcome. Phillip Gibson works from our Sydney criminal defence law office and travels all over NSW to defend people on criminal charges.