Man faces child sex abuse claims
A FATHER accused of the rape and molestation of his daughter allegedly carried out the acts when the girl was aged just four and five years old, the District Court in Warwick has heard.
The trial of the man – who under the law cannot be named, to protect his daughter’s identity – finally got under way yesterday morning after a week of legal argument.
Crown Prosecutor Isaac Munsie opened proceedings, giving an outline to the jury of his case which includes evidence on four charges of rape, five of indecent treatment of a child under the age of 12 and a known direct descendant, and two counts of assault.
The five-man and seven-woman jury listened to distressing accusations that the man raped and indecently treated his daughter inside the Warwick home they were renting, on various dates between May 1993 and October 1994.
It is also alleged that he repeatedly forced the girl to perform sexual acts on him and that he injured her when she refused to do so.
Mr Munsie told the court the Crown case would allege the instances of rape took place inside the father’s bedroom, the living room of the house and while the girl was showering with her father.
The rape alleged to have taken place in the bedroom is said to have been witnessed by the girl’s younger sister who was aged two or three, with the sister expected to testify that the older girl protested and complained of pain.
Mr Munsie said the jury would hear from the complainant that she found blood on her legs after intercourse was performed.
The five counts of indecent treatment involve several instances of the girl being forced to perform oral sex and other acts on her father after first refusing to do so.
These include one occasion where the two were in the bath, with the father accused of slamming her head against the tiled wall when she would not comply with the request.
This accusation has resulted in a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm against the father, who is also alleged to have choked the girl until she blacked out on another occasion when she declined to do as he directed.
Mr Munsie said the complainant, who is now aged 23, had narrowed down the time period as to when the offences are said to have taken place to a period between her fourth and sixth birthdays.
After that time the girl went to live with a foster parent, who is also scheduled to give evidence that the complainant told her about the abuse she suffered from her father when she was aged 18 and began dating a boyfriend, while the two of them were discussing sexual health issues.
The court is also set to hear evidence from a school friend of the complainant who was also told of alleged offending involving the father.
Other evidence is expected from police officers who investigated the daughter’s complaints and from a medical expert on child sexual abuse who examined the complainant before the trial.
Due to the multiple sex charges involved, the man has also been charged with the over-arching offence of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 12.
The complainant in the case and her younger sister both gave evidence in a closed court yesterday afternoon, with media not present and with a screen placed next to the witness box to prevent eye contact with their father, who was seated in the dock.
The jury was given copies of material outlining the charges and the timeframe in which the offences are said to have occurred.
The trial continues today and evidence is expected to be completed by lunchtime tomorrow, after which the jury will retire to consider their verdicts on all 12 charges.