Not guilty: client acquitted of multiple sexual offences following District Court jury trial

In an excellent conclusion to a long-running case, we acted for a client charged with multiple counts of sexual offences. The allegations were brought by a child who was a friend of the family and was said to have occurred at the end of a party at which numerous persons were present. The client came to us upon being charged.

On receipt of the disclosure evidence, it was obvious the police had not properly investigated the matter. A statement had only been taken from the complainant and her mother. None of the persons present at the party were interviewed. We requested the police properly investigate the matter which resulted in a statement being taken from the client’s wife, which would later be instrumental in achieving an acquittal. We also undertook extensive preparation and took our own statements from numerous persons present at the party.

On committal to the District Court, the State were successful in applying to pre-record the complainant’s evidence. This occurred about one year prior to the actual trial. In a wide-ranging and damaging cross-examination lasting several hours, James was able to seriously damage the complainant’s credibility.

At trial, the State reneged on its original position on leading the DNA evidence, which was critical to the defence case. The DNA evidence demonstrated clearly that our client did not commit any offence. Despite this, the State indicated they were refusing to adduce the evidence. After some pre-trial discussions, the State agreed to lead some of the evidence, but sought to exclude critical results that supported the defence case. On the first day of trial, following a full day of legal argument, James was successful in being allowed to lead the DNA results the State sought to exclude.

At trial, we presented a very strong defence case, including the calling of numerous defence witnesses and several comprehensive documentary exhibits. In particular, we provided jury booklets containing pages and pages of SMS messages between the complainant and her mother which demonstrated that the offences could not have occurred.

The trial lasted 7 days. After just over an hour of deliberations, the jury acquitted our client of all charges. Not only was this an excellent result, but a huge relief to our client who after several years of being in limbo, was finally able to clear their name and move on with their life.

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