Man accused of raping his stepdaughter wins retrial

BREAKING: Queensland's highest court has found that a Warwick man should not have been convicted of raping his stepdaughter and has granted him a retrial.

The Court of Appeal this week concluded that there was a miscarriage of justice during the man's trial.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of raping the girl when she was aged seven.

The trial in the district court at Warwick in July last year led to him being sentenced to five years jail.

This week the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction and ordered a retrial.

It also dismissed an appeal the Attorney-General made on his sentence, claiming the jail term was inadequate.

The alleged offence is alleged to have occurred in March or April 2014, when the man was living with his partner and three children: two girls aged seven and six from the woman's previous relationship and an 18-month-old girl - the child of the man and the woman.

The Court of Appeal judgment said the man and the girls' mother split up in May 2014 and there was a dispute two months later over the man's access to his daughter.

During this dispute, it is alleged the girls' maternal grandmother told police the man had raped her seven-year-old granddaughter.

Police interviewed him and that was recorded and played to the jury at the trial.

During that interview, he told police he had never been alone with his partner's children and he had been told another man had molested the girl.

At his trial, the prosecution argued the man told police several lies to hide his guilt and that some of his lies proved he had something to hide.

The judge referred to this when he summed up the case to the jury.

In his judgment, Court of Appeal Justice Philip McMurdo said there was a miscarriage of justice.

He said the question came down to whether the lie proved he had knowledge of the alleged offence.

"In my conclusion it was not open to the jury to conclude that it did," Justice McMurdo said.

He also said some of the man's arguments on appeal, including inconsistencies with the girl's and grandmother's evidence, and how the girl at one stage agreed that she had made the complaint because her mother had told her to, "to get (the man) into trouble", provided a strong argument that the guilty verdict was unreasonable.


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