FILE SHOT: Bundaberg court house Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail
FILE SHOT: Bundaberg court house Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg BUN110814CRT3

Man accused of having sex with mentally impaired 16-year-old

THE trial of a Bundaberg man accused of having sex with an intellectually disabled girl has begun in the Bundaberg District Court.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded not guilty to numerous sexual offences which allegedly occurred in 2012 - when the victim was 16 years old.

The court heard the alleged offending began after the victim's mother started a relationship with the defendant and the girl and her mother moved in with the defendant.

Judge Michael Burnett is presiding over the case without a jury after Judge Paul Smith ruled in June that the trial should be heard as a judge-only trial.

In her opening address on Monday, Crown prosecutor Mel Wilson said during the three-day trial the court would hear evidence which indicated the victim's reading and writing was at a "grade two level" and her "IQ was that of a child".

Ms Wilson said the victim would give evidence that on two occasions the defendant drove her to a park area under the old bridge in North Bundaberg.

She said the victim would tell the court the defendant asked her for a back rub before he removed her clothes and had sex with her in the back of the van.

Ms Wilson said the victim would also give evidence that on two occasions the defendant drove her to Queen's Park during the day and again had sex with her in the back of the van.

The girl, who took the stand as a special witness, was also expected to recall an occasion when she stayed at the defendant's mother's house.

"The defendant snuck into her room," Ms Wilson said.

She said the victim would tell the court the defendant told her "not to make any noise because mum might come in and find out".

Ms Wilson said the victim would also give evidence that she accompanied the defendant on a trip to North Queensland during which the defendant made the girl perform oral sex three or four times while he was driving, which caused the defendant's car to swerve across the road.

Ms Wilson said the court would also hear evidence that the defendant's manner of driving caused other motorists to phone police and resulted in the defendant's car being intercepted by police.

Defence barrister Kim Bryson argued that Judge Barrett would need to be satisfied of two points before he could find the defendant guilty.

She said firstly he would need to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged offences took place.

And secondly that it was not reasonable for the defendant to think the girl was not a person of an impaired mind and the alleged offences therefore constituted sexual exploitation.

The trial is expected to continue on Tuesday.


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