Man convicted of raping three-year-old girl appeals
CONFLICTING evidence during the trial of a Darling Downs man accused of raping a three-year-old girl may lead to the man being released from jail.
A jury found the man, 46, guilty of raping his partner's daughter, who is now seven, after a trial in Toowoomba in May this year, but he has appealed his conviction.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, received a three-year jail sentence to be suspended after he serves 18 months.
The prosecution argued the rape occurred in 2010 at the mother's house in Pittsworth while the girl's mother, the girl's two sisters and her mother's friend were out shopping in Toowoomba.
The man's defence barrister, Michael Copley, argued a crucial piece of evidence was not disputed which could have led to a different verdict.
The two sisters and victim said the incident occurred while their mother was pregnant with their younger sister.
But the mother's friend said the only shopping trips to Toowoomba she went on with the mother and girls were after the baby was born.
At the Brisbane Court of Appeal on Friday, Mr Copley said the friend's evidence, combined with bank statements, showed the incident could not have happened on the dates the prosecution alleged.
"...It is more likely that an adult woman would remember that sort of detail and sequence of events better than a three-year-old..." Mr Copley said.
But prosecutor Ben Power said the friend was asked to recall details of the shopping trips three years after the incident occurred, noting it was a long time to recall such detail.
Judge Catherine Holmes said the jury ultimately had two sets of evidence, with the friend's evidence going unchallenged.
The Court of Appeal also heard the sisters said during the trial that after returning home from shopping in Toowoomba, their younger sister told their mother about the sexual assault.
The mother did not believe her and the child's claims went unreported until the following year.
The girl also tried telling other people but it was not reported.
Mr Copley said this showed people did not take the girl's claims seriously.
"It is open to conclude that there was something about the story that (the girl) was not telling that didn't engender confidence... And all of this feeds into whether or not the jury... should have had a reasonable doubt about guilt."
The judges have reserved their decision.
- APN NEWSDESK