Jury returns verdict in child sexual assault trial
A man has been found guilty of two child sex offences following a two-day trial in Grafton District Court last week.
The jury took almost two days to deliberate their verdict before delivering their decision in court on Friday.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of two charges of committing an indecent assault on a person under 16 years of age.
A not-guilty verdict was returned on two more serious charges of having sexual intercourse with a person between the ages of 10 and 14 and aggravated sexual assault of a person under the age of 16.
Despite the man's barrister Peter Davies arguing the victim's evidence lacked detail and her testimony was not logical because she was making the accusations up, the jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that between 2016 and 2018 the girl had been indecently assaulted on two separate occasions.
The court was told the offending took place when she was aged between 10 and 14, and that the victim had been friends with the accused's daughter when on a number of occasions the victim had visited the accused's Lower Clarence home for playdates and sleepovers, where the sexual assaults took place.
The jury found that some time between December 2016 and January 2018 the victim was at the accused's home for a sleepover when one night she was laying on a mattress in her friend's room, playing on an iPad, when the accused entered the room, removed the girls clothes and indecently assaulted her.
The jury also found that on another occasion the accused indecently assaulted the complainant by getting into bed with her and fondling her breasts.
The jury heard evidence from the officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Senior Constable Glenn Eddy, that police were first made aware of the allegations in November 2018 when the victim "broke down sobbing" during a meeting with a school counsellor.
The court was told the girl told the counsellor she had a "deep dark secret" and that when she would visit the home of her friend, the father would assault her.
The man is due to face a sentence hearing in Coffs Harbour District Court on April 23.