Plea to stepdad jury: ‘Don’t be distracted’


PROSECUTORS of a man accused of molesting and raping his stepdaughter have urged jurors not to "be distracted" when considering a verdict.

The Crown has alleged over 20 counts of sexual abuse and rape occurred in seven different houses, including homes in southern Cairns and the Tablelands.

The complainant child, now aged in her 20s, gave evidence in a closed session of Cairns District Court and alleged her stepfather sexually abused until she was 17.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to all the charges and stood trial this week.

"Don't be distracted," crown prosecutor Nicole Friederwald told the jury in her closing address yesterday.

"(Her) evidence was sufficiently consistent to be satisfied by its reliability."

Ms Friederwald was at pains to counter the defence of barrister Craig Eberhardt, who focused on alleged inconsistencies in the complainant's claims. He also called on the defendant and the complainant's own sister to counter the allegations.

The prosecution described the issues raised by the Mr Eberhardt as "peripheral matters".

The defending barrister called attention to perceived discrepancies in details of the complainant's allegations, such as the distances recalled during an alleged incident when the defendant was accused of using the family dog to molest her.

"She was drawing upon her memories as a child," Ms Friederwald said.

"Distances may feel larger than as walked as an adult."

The Crown also alleged the defendant made the girl watch intimate moments between him and the girl's mother.

"He either placed her there to watch the activity or invited her," Ms Friederwald said.

The estranged younger sister of the complainant told the court she didn't know the alleged abuse occurred.

She said her sister had spoken of dreams she had about alleged abuse. "She asked if I had any dreams; she said she had been having dreams about dad doing things to her and asked if I had," she said.

Judge Tracy Fantin will address the jurors before they retire to consider a verdict.

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