Fifth trial for man accused of raping stepdaughter

A FORMER Hervey Bay man who allegedly raped his stepdaughter is set to face trial a fifth time for the charges.

On Friday, the Queensland Court of Appeal granted his appeal against eight sexual offences and ordered a retrial.

Earlier this year a jury found the man, who cannot be named, guilty of molesting the girl in the Caboolture and Deception Bay areas after he separated from her mother.

The accused man appealed the conviction on the basis the trial judge made an error in discharging a juror who overheard a conversation he had with his partner while on a train during the Brisbane District Court trial.

The appeal court documents state juror number four told juror number seven she was sitting opposite the accused man and a woman when she overheard him acknowledging she was a juror.

The man, however, argued in his appeal that he did not know she was there.

The fourth juror recounted to the trial judge that she told the seventh juror how the pair spoke in raised voices just ahead of her when they reached their destination and left the train.

She explained the man said the jury would know who was lying and the woman spoke about photos they had presented.

The prosecution intended to show evidence the photos the woman had taken were doctored.

The fourth juror said the experience made her feel "very shaken" and the seventh juror told the trial judge juror number four was visibly shaking when she recounted what happened.

The seventh juror said the woman told her the pair was "saying things like, oh, the truth will come out Friday when I have my chance to tell them. That little bitch will get what's coming to her".

The judge dismissed juror number four, but kept juror number seven because she said what she had been told would not affect her ability to be impartial.

But appeal court Justice Catherine Holmes said it was difficult to see how the juror could have remained unbiased and she also should have been discharged.

- APN NEWSDESK


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