Man faces court over photos

A SOUTH Grafton man is facing indecent assault charges after he was accused of taking indecent photographs of a 14-year-old Clarence Valley girl.

The 47-year-old man was arrested in November 2007 after the teenager told her mother about the alleged photo sessions.

He has been charged with inciting a person under 16 years to commit an act of indecency and aggravated indecent assault of a victim under the age of 16.

The first indecency charge dates from an alleged photo session in a cabin at a North Coast holiday park in September 2007.

Police allege the teenager was photographed without underwear at the defendant's request.

The man is alleged to have been holidaying at the park with the girl and his children at the time.

The second charge dates from another incident two months later in which he allegedly photographed the girl topless. The allegation of assault refers to the man pinching the teenager's nipples, the aggravating factor being the young age of the complainant.

The man also faces five firearms charges, to which he pleaded guilty, and cannabis possession.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty to both indecent assault charges and the drug possession.

A hearing on those charges was held in a closed session of Grafton Local Court at the end of last year.

The girl's mother testified that she first met the defendant through a neighbour.

She said her daughter worked casually for him for about 12 months, doing work on his property and babysitting his children.

She told the court she learned of the photos in November 2007 after her daughter arrived home from school in a distressed state.

She said she knew something was wrong when the teenager asked her to tell the accused, if he rang, that she was sick and couldn't work that day.

The mother said she asked her daughter what was wrong and was allegedly told the man had taken photos of the girl topless.

She testified that her daughter told her the money the man paid her the previous week was for letting him take the photos.

The teenager testified that the man had bought her skimpy bikinis, dresses and underwear, many of which were submitted to the court as evidence.

The defendant is scheduled to receive his verdict in Grafton Local Court on Monday afternoon.

A suppression order applies on some details of the case, including the location of offences, to protect the victim's identity.

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