Barclay White

Barrister says that "memory is malleable" in child sex case

BARRISTER Tony Collins said there was "enormous prejudice" in any child sex offence matter.

His client, a 51-year-old former Mackay man, is accused of molesting his daughter on three different occasions between 1998 and 2003.

It is alleged the offending occurred under the kitchen table, in the parental bed and in the girl's room at the family home in West Mackay.

It is further alleged she was under 12 when one of the instances occurred.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When it came to child sex offending the "environment in the community is poisonous", Mr Collins said during his closing address to the jury.

For some people "the mere allegation is enough", he said.

The crown case "depends almost entirely on the memory of the complainant", he said.

Mr Collins went on to say that "memory is malleable… it can be moulded and it can be influenced… by suggestions".

He pointed out a number of inconsistencies in her evidence during the two-day trial. The "great danger" with these types of allegations was that "an innocent man might be convicted", he said.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallace said any inconsistencies could be explained.

They were "not so significant to cause you doubt", he said. During his closing address he said the "lynch pin" of the defence case was that the complainant was unreliable.

He urged the jury to leave emotion "at the door" and apply common sense. "You're here to decide on the evidence," he said.

Mr Wallace said it was the crown case that the man had a sexual interest in his daughter and he acted on that interest.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations this afternoon.


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