Jury finds man guilty of sexually molesting granddaughter
A MOTHER has spoken through tears as she recounted the moment her eight-year-old daughter confided she had been molested by her grandfather.
The woman told the Warwick District Court yesterday she was "gutted" when a conversation about "stranger danger" revealed the abuse.
The now 69-year-old man indecently touched the girl's genitals on two separate occasions, while she and her younger sister stayed with the man and his wife during school holidays.
He cannot be named to protect the identity of the girl.
It is believed the abuse took place sometime between the end of 2009 and the start of 2011.
In the first incident the man pulled her into his bed and tickled her and then touched her inappropriately.
She told police her sister interrupted the abuse and tried to pull her out from under their grandfather.
She also said her grandfather "shushed" her and told her not to tell her parents.
Days later, the victim and her grandfather were alone in his car when he took off her underwear and pants and again touched her inappropriately.
A seven-man, five-woman jury yesterday took less than two hours to find the man, who resides in the Southern Downs, guilty of two counts of indecent treatment of a child under 12.
Over the course of the two-day trial, the jury saw video recordings of the girl's interviews with police and her pre-recorded evidence.
The man's wife was present for the entire trial.
During its deliberations yesterday, the jury asked to view the girl's evidence for a second time.
In the recording, the girl is brought to tears several times as she is pressed over whether she is lying about the molestation.
Despite the rigorous questioning, the victim maintains she was telling the truth and her grandfather did touch her.
The man was visibly shaken when the jury returned its guilty verdict within five minutes of viewing the footage for the second time.
Crown Prosecutor Maita Aylward told the court the mother of the girl, who was married to the man's son, was still struggling with the abuse.
"She says she feels very hurt because she trusted him and left her children with him, without her or her husband being there," she said.
Miss Aylward added the girl had become withdrawn since the abuse and had difficulty establishing a relationship with her maternal grandfather.
Judge David Andrews yesterday sentenced the man, who had no prior criminal history, to 18 months jail.
He will be eligible to apply for parole after serving nine months behind bars.
As a result of the conviction, the man will be put on a sex offenders registry and will be required to submit to ongoing reporting conditions.