Bid to overturn child rape conviction
A MAN convicted of repeatedly and violently raping his nine-year-old niece at knifepoint during the 2009 Christmas holidays is appealing the jury's verdict in the Supreme Court.
The man, who cannot be named, was jailed for a minimum of 11 years and three months in December last year for the "cruel and degrading" attacks which left the girl bleeding, unable to walk, dizzy and vomiting.
But his barrister, Ian Read, on Wednesday told the Court of Criminal Appeal the circumstances of the offending were so brazen and extreme that the jury should have had a reasonable doubt about his client's guilt.
"It is my submission on behalf of the appellant that there is a significant risk that an innocent man has been convicted," he said.
Mr Read said there were four areas which presented "serious obstacles to conviction" including inconsistencies in the evidence, the credibility of the victim, a lack of opportunity and the "general plausibility and implausibility" of the Crown's case.
He said his client's conduct as described to the jury - which included assaults the details of which are too graphic to publish conducted within near proximity to other family members - represented an "extraordinary risk" that he would be caught in the act.
"The risk exposed to in this case is at such a higher level than a stepfather sneaking into his kid's room when their mother's asleep," he said.
"It's not as if he's taken (her) down there and there's been some minor touching or something that might be explained - these are the type of things that are inexplicable if anyone disturbed them.
"The risk of her yelling out or running out the door is significant, even the noise that one might create being involved in that type of activity."
During an earlier bail hearing ahead of the appeal, Mr Read said if the appellate court ruled that the jury's decision was unsound his client would likely be acquitted rather than facing a retrial.
"If these grounds of appeal are successful then it would be submitted that there was to be a strong basis that a verdict of acquittal be entered," he said.