Child rape trial under way

A WARWICK man charged with 12 counts of rape and other sexual abuse of his daughter pleaded not guilty to all charges when he appeared in the District Court in Warwick yesterday.

The alleged offender – who cannot be named as it could identify the complainant in the case – was shown into the courtroom dock shortly after 10am and stood to hear the charges formally read out.

The man 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 Prosecutor 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.

When asked by District Court Judge's Irwin's associate to enter a plea after each count was read, the alleged offender answered in a loud voice a plea of not guilty to each, resulting in the formal commencement of his District Court trial.

He initially declined to be seated when asked by His Honour to do so after his pleas, saying he preferred to stand in the dock, before being instructed to sit and to communicate with the court through his legal representatives.

The man is being represented by high-profile Toowoomba barrister Robbie Davies and the trial is expected to span between two to three days this week.

Crown Prosecutor Isaac Munsie told the court he would call a series of witnesses, including the complainant herself, now an adult, and several police officers who carried out investigations into the allegations made.

Other witnesses are to include persons who provided care for the complainant when she was a child, as well as school teachers and neighbours.

A five-man and seven-woman jury was formally empanelled yesterday morning to hear the case, but was excused shortly after while Judge Irwin heard technical arguments from the Crown and the defence relating to presentation of evidence in the case.

One juror elected to stand down after the list of witnesses was read out, citing a close personal relationship with one of the witnesses to be called, and was replaced.

The trial will continue this afternoon after initial legal argument is completed and the Crown will open by presenting its evidence summary and calling its first witness.

The District Court is the level above the Magistrates Courts and visits Warwick several times a year. The current sitting is scheduled for two weeks and may include more trials.

Potential jurors on the current panel are not required to attend court today.



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