Rape trial begins in Grafton District Court
THE trial of a Clarence Valley man accused of raping two of his stepdaughters has begun in Grafton District Court yesterday.
The accused entered pleas of not guilty to sexual intercourse with a person between 10 and under 16-under authority, aggravated indecent assault, aggravated sexual assault, sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated sexual assault on a victim with serious intellectual disability.
In his opening statement, the Crown prosecutor told the jury the first alleged offence happened when the girl was 14, when the man made the girl take showers with him, which she did allegedly out of fear of her stepfather.
The court heard the alleged abuse continued, and when the complainant was 15 years old she was sexually assaulted by the accused on the floor of his bedroom. The prosecution said this allegedly continued regularly for a number of years.
The prosecutor told the jury the accused allegedly told the complainant that she was 'old enough to bleed, old enough to butcher'.
The Crown prosecutor also alleged the accused had non-consensual intercourse with another stepdaughter, who had a severe mental disability.
In reply, the accused's defence barrister John Carty said there were three main issues the jury needed to consider during the trial: when did the sexual relationship start between the accused and the complainant, was the intercourse consensual, and was there intercourse with the second complainant.
Mr Carty said there was no dispute his client had been in a relationship with the first complainant.
What was in dispute, Mr Carty said, was when the relationship started. Mr Carty said there had been a relationship but it did not form in the manner alleged by the prosecution.
Mr Carty said his client denied any sexual contact with the victim before she was 16-years-old, and denied using any threats of violence or coercion. The trial is expected to last for two weeks.