Child rape trial delay continues

JURORS in the District Court trial of a Warwick man charged with the rape, sexual abuse and assault of his daughter are still waiting for the trial to start after being sworn in on Monday.

The jury was sent home for the third day in a row yesterday as lawyers in the case remained mired in legal argument which will continue today and possibly tomorrow.

A five-man and seven-woman jury was sworn in on Monday morning to decide the case, after the man pleaded not guilty to a total of 12 separate charges.

The District Court is on a current two-week sitting in Warwick under Judge Marshall Irwin, who sent the jury home on Monday due to legal technicalities which had to be sorted out between the prosecution and defence teams.

His Honour also had to attend the funeral of a close friend at Oakey on Monday afternoon, with the jurors required to present themselves at court at 2pm on Tuesday.

They were dismissed a second time and directed to return at midday yesterday for the start of the trial, but were once again sent away while Crown Prosecutor Isaac Munsie and defence lawyer Robbie Davies continued to thrash out issues related to the presentation of evidence.

The jury will not be required today and if technical arguments continue tomorrow it will result in further inconvenience for the jurors, who had initially been given to expect that the trial could have been wrapped up by the end of yesterday.

Around a dozen other matters, including sentencing of convicted offenders, had been set down for tomorrow and other trials were due to begin next week, with the District Court not due back in Warwick until November.

The accused in the current case – who cannot be named as it could identify the complainant in the case – is charged with four counts of rape, five counts of unlawful and indecent dealing with a child, two counts of assault and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under the age of 12, known to him to be a direct descendant.

It will be alleged by the Crown that the girl was about four and five-years-old at the time the offences are alleged to have taken place, with the complaints dating back to the early to mid 1990s.

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