Jury acquits man of raping step-daughter after 3 day trial

A MAN accused of raping his 13-year old step-daughter has been found not guilty.

It took the jury of eight women and four men more than two hours yesterday to determine the verdict after a three day trial in the Hervey Bay District Court.

The man, who had dressed neatly in pants and a button down shirt for the trial, showed no outward reaction when the result was handed down.

The man, who the Chronicle has not named in order to protect the girl, pleaded not guilty to raping, attempting to rape and indecently treating the teenager between March 2010 and December 2013.

However, the man pleaded guilty to three counts of assault between December 2010 and February 2011.

The girl, who is now 18, was in court when the jury read their verdict.

She displayed no physical reaction to the result, but was seen hugging friends and supporters when the court adjourned.

The court heard the man, 33, allegedly slapped the girl in the face and on one occasion put his hand in her mouth in order to stop her from talking.

The man assaulted the girl as a part of disciplinary action, the court was told.

Defence barrister Simone Bain said the girl had run away from home, failed to attend school and had been in trouble with the police for assaulting people, including the mother of an autistic child.

"Her continued bad behaviour shows she was in no way scared of upsetting her step-father," she said.

The man will be sentenced for common assault and two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm in the Hervey Bay District Court today.

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