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Jury likely to get sex assault case today

Jurors could today get to decide the fate of a man accused of a sex assault of a five-year-old girl. The Supreme Court trial for an out-patient at Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI), began last week and is expected to conclude today when the four-man eight-woman jury deliver their verdict.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has denied two counts of sexual exploitation of a young person.

Prosecutor Robert Welling told the jury there were two questions that needed to be asked; firstly whether the child was a victim of a sex attack; and secondly whether the defendant was the person responsible.

When considering if it happened, Mr Welling told them to consider the incident took place on an “ordinary day” for the victim and her family last July.

He said: “Ask yourself why a five-year-old girl playing with her cousin and younger sister who has never heard about the concept of [sexual touching] why is it she would fabricate and make up a story like that?”

Mr Welling said DNA evidence provided by expert Candy Zuleger supported the girl's story; as saliva, matching the defendant's DNA, was found on both her underwear and private parts. The prosecutor said evidence given by another MWI out-patient put the accused in the “right place and the right direction at the right time”.

Defence lawyer Ken Savoury called some of the evidence “unreliable” and added: “It is my respectful submission that the only evidence that points towards [my client] is the DNA evidence, nothing else does.”

The court previously heard the five-year-old describe the suspect as wearing a green shirt, blue jeans and being tall like her father, who is approximately 6ft 1in,said Mr Savoury.

He added that the accused was considerably shorter and said there was not enough evidence to support his client in fitting that description.

Mr Savoury said: “We must not cherry pick [the victim's] evidence. We must not only accept what she said happened to her, but we must also accept who did it to her and the description of who did it to her.”

Chief Justice Richard Ground said yesterday it was important for the jury to bear in mind the young girl, who appeared in a video-taped interview, wasn't able to be cross examined nor was there an identification line-up.

The case continues today.

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Published March 17, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated March 17, 2011 at 10:08 am)

Jury likely to get sex assault case today

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