News

Juror puts sex trial at risk by using Google

A GOOGLEY-EYED juror's internet search almost ended a sex abuse trial in Gladstone on Thursday.

It follows a trial being called off during district court sittings in May after a juror unknowingly talked to a witness.

The search to find the meaning of 'beyond a reasonable doubt' was made by a juror in the trial of a man accused of sexual abuse charges against his former stepdaughter

A stern warning was issued to the jurors on behalf of Judge David Reid before they were asked to begin deliberations.

The Crown alleges the man, who cannot be named, allegedly indecently treated his former stepdaughter.

Screenshots of Facebook conversations between the girl and her best friend in which she first divulged the alleged molestation were shown to the court on Thursday.

The message read: "I'm really scared to even send this message... my step-dad molests me... he is a really scary man... I know your family will protect me."

The man allegedly pinned the girl by the arms to her bed and pressed his body against hers.

The prosecution also claims the girl was subjected to inappropriate touching on her thigh, and requests to remove her shirt on occasions spanning the duration between 2007 and 2010.

She also claims the defendant, who is the father of two of her siblings, had been spying on her while she used the bathroom.

The victim provided pre-recorded evidence claiming her mistreatment began when the family was living in Kin Kora when she was eight years old, and continued until she was 12 years of age and living in Yarwun.

The defence is alleging the now-teenage girl was unhappy with disciplinary measures placed on her by the defendant while she was under his care.

The court heard the alleged victim had been grounded by her then step-father the week before she informed a third party of the ongoing abuse.

Defence barrister David Murray claimed the girl "would find a way to be allowed to live in Gladstone".

Jurors retired to deliberate on a verdict late Thursday afternoon, when the internet search had been discovered.

It is expected they will return a verdict on Friday.

Topics:  crime, gladstone district court, indecent treatment




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