Court: Lismore District Court
Our client was the manager of a popular nightspot in Byron Bay. A fancy dress function had been arranged. One of the people attending was a woman who had been sacked by the manager only a few weeks before. Both the accused and the alleged victim drank alcohol. In the early hours of the next morning, the woman flagged down a passing car and told the male driver that she had been sexually assaulted. She was taken to a friend’s place where she told her friend she had been raped by the accused. Police were called. She provided a statement to them. Police conducted an investigation, They took photos based on her description of where the incident took place. The complaint was quite specific as to where she says it took place. A sexual assault kit was completed at the local hospital. No DNA was recovered.
The accused was charged with sexual assault and a number of indecent assaults.
The accused denied the offences or even being present. The issue was the reliability of the victim’s evidence.
Nyman Gibson Miralis lawyers did not represent the accused initially. The opportunity to cross examine a number of prosecution witnesses at a committal hearing in the Local court was sadly missed. The potential penalties for an offence pursuant to section 61I Crimes Act is 14 years with a standard non-parole period of 7 years if found guilty after jury trial. It is so important to get the right legal representation for such serious matters. The accused approached our accredited criminal law specialist to take over carriage of the matter and prepare for trial.
The victim was a gorgeous young lady. It seemed as though butter would not melt in her mouth as she gave evidence in a convincing fashion to the jury. In cross examination, she was a little less comfortable. She said that she had never done anything to remind her of this horrible evening, that she could not face up to thinking about that night, that she did not make up the entire event to pay the accused back for sacking her etc. It was all nonsense.
We then showed this evil complainant 76 Facebook pages from her Facebook page where she had posted photos of the evening, including some photos where she was clearly mocking the accused, indicating that he was going to get into trouble for having sex with her.
The description of the location where the assaults occurred did not match the evidence given by the victim. The houses pointed out by the victim did not match the description that she gave police. The version of complaint given by the victim to various people changed as the story was re-told and changed again when her evidence was given. CCTV footage cast doubt on her recollection of events prior to the alleged assaults.
The jury did not take long at all to return verdicts of not guilty on all counts.