Gladstone Courthouse.
Gladstone Courthouse.

Dad not guilty: Lawyer says sex abuse allegation “set-up”

A GLADSTONE father has been acquitted of a sex assault charge against his daughter after his lawyer claimed the allegation was a "set-up".

The man, who cannot be named for legal purposes, pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent treatment of a child under 12 years of age as a lineal descendant in the Gladstone District Court this week.

During the trial the jury heard evidence from several sources, including the man's daughter, her mother and police.

It was alleged between February 16 and December 10, 2009, the man was alleged to have exposed his penis to his daughter, aged seven at the time, and used her hands to masturbate.

It was alleged the girl initially refused so he grabbed her hands and placed them on his penis. But defence barrister Malcolm Harrison told the jury the allegation was a "set-up" either on the mother's or daughter's behalf.

Mr Harrison pointed out to the jury several inconsistencies between the mother's version and her daughter's version given to police after the report was made in November 2015.

Mr Harrison told the court there was evidence given by the mother about the alleged offending that the daughter said never happened.

He told the jury there had been arguments between his client and the mother who were both fighting for custody of their children, including the alleged victim.

Mr Harrison told the jury his client and the woman were also having a disagreement over the signing of the alleged victim child's passport documents for an overseas holiday - which his client refused to sign.

Mr Harrison suggested to the jury the sex assault allegation was the result of the woman saying "whatever comes to mind to try and advance her own wishes".

Mr Harrison said it may have also come from the child.

"This was a 14-year-old girl who, without a passport isn't going on a trip," he said.

"It occurs in a time frame where there may have been motive to lie," Mr Harrison said.

He also pointed out the length of time it took for the woman and daughter to report the incident to police - six years. Mr Harrison described the allegations towards his client as "malevolent" and an "absolute mess".

During cross-examination Mr Harrison expressed these beliefs to the mother, who said she could "never make up something so disgusting".

"I'm sorry but I'm not that sick in the head," she said.

During her evidence the mother told the jury she would love to see her former partner in prison "for what he did".

The jury was sent out to deliberate on Wednesday afternoon and came back with a not-guilty verdict.

The man was acquitted of the charge.