Bizarre details emerge as counsellor cleared of sex charges

STOLEN goats, hallucinations, an alter-ego and a false rape allegation.

The bizarre details of a district court case left a Hervey Bay jury with no choice but to find a man not-guilty of historical sexual assault charges.

The 77-year-old fronted Hervey Bay District Court on Tuesday, facing five charges of indecent treatment of a child under 16.

But his accuser's long history of mental illness, including a stint in a psychiatric hospital, caused her credibility to be called into question.

The man's defence team set about proving the woman was "delusional" and could not be trusted, ultimately leading to the man's acquittal.

A retired school guidance counsellor, the man was accused of assaulting the woman - then one of his students - in the 1980s, when she was 14.

She first made a complaint to police in 2017 - 35 years after she said her guidance counsellor pressed his erect penis against her shoulder and made her rub his penis on the outside of his pants.

The woman, now in her 50s, said while she was in the counsellor's office, he stood up from behind his desk and stood next to her before pressing his penis against her shoulder.

Within a week, she said she returned to the man's office and the same thing happened again, except this time, the teen ran from school and sat on the beach.

She said the man followed her to the beach in his car and sat beside her on the sand before reaching for her hand and using it to rub his penis.

This incident was repeated twice in the man's car, the woman told the court.

The court heard the woman came forward with the complaint in 2017 after walking past the man in the street.

She told police she finally felt comfortable coming forward.

The woman spoke honestly and openly in court about her psychiatric difficulties.

She was frank about being admitted to a psychiatric hospital at 14, a past false rape claim and delusions she had suffered.

Defence barrister Russell Clutterbuck said the woman's "extreme mental health issues" made it "dangerous" to accept her evidence.

Mr Clutterbuck told the court about an "incident involving a goat", which the woman had detailed during cross-examination.

"She said she had taken 12 goats and was found wandering the streets by police," Mr Clutterbuck said.

He said the woman had an "alter-ego called Helen", and had experienced auditory hallucinations.

"She had hallucinations, delusions and on it went," Mr Clutterbuck said.

"She has a significant clinical history. If you accept what she says, you would have to accept her evidence over and above that, which in my view is quite dangerous, very dangerous indeed."

Evidence to support the woman's claims was also an issue, given the alleged incidents happened in the 1980s.

Mr Clutterbuck said the lack of technology and permanent records from the time made it impossible to verify her claims.

"Had the records been available, (the counsellor) would have known when, where and how long he saw (the girl). He would have been able to know exactly what counselling sessions they had, but he can't because those notes aren't available," he said.

The jury deliberated for an hour before finding the man not-guilty on all five charges.