I respected man accused of torturing kids, witness says
"WE WERE good friends. Real close friends. I looked up to him like a father figure."
That respect, a jury has been told, was why a grown man heeded parenting advice that has allegedly led to charges of torture.
The adult witness gave evidence on Tuesday at Brisbane District Court, where a 58-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to four counts of torture.
The witness, now in his 30s, said it was the accused man's idea to go to forest areas in the Glass House Mountains and Elimbah regions in the autumn or winter of 2013.
The witness went along with the accused man and two girls, then aged about four or five.
In the forest, he said, the accused man opened the doors, let the girls out and told them to "keep up" as he drove off.
Screaming, as darkness fell, the girls ran back and forth on a dirt road, in laps the witness said amounted to 12km over 45 minutes.
"They were saying: Don't leave us".
The witness said he was in the passenger seat.
"They were racing so fast ... they just kept running, thinking they were being left behind."
The witness said on another forest trip, the accused man dragged a boy aged 13 by his shoulders out of the car, telling the boy to jog uphill.
Defence counsel Simon Hamlyn-Harris earlier in the trial said his client admitted giving other adults parenting advice, but denied torture.
On Tuesday, the adult witness himself admitted to smacking one of the girls.
"I would only strike once. And I never left a red mark on her arse or her wrist."
The witness said he smacked her because she played with his knife, or broke his cigarettes.
He said the accused man and the girl's mother also smacked her, once or twice.
"She screamed because she didn't like what was happening" when getting smacked, he said.
The witness said the girl would rub soiled clothes on the carpet or walls when the door handle to her room was removed and she was effectively locked in.
He said it was the accused man's idea to remove the handle, but he went along with the advice because he did not wish to anger the older man.
The girl would hide soiled clothes among clean ones, the witness added.
Multiple witnesses previously said the girl was punished after soiling herself.
The accused man previously told police he fed the girl healthy food but others supposed to be caring for the child underfed her, or gave her junk food.
The trial continues. - NewsRegional