Father claims 'blindness' to overturn sexual abuse plea
A FATHER found guilty of sexually abusing his three daughters tried to have his convictions overturned citing concerns from his legal team in court.
The unnamed man, found guilty at trial for sexually abusing his youngest daughter, had pleaded guilty to 16 other charges relating to another two daughters, in 2014.
After successfully appealing his initial sentence, the man further applied to the Governor for a pardon on the offences, citing a miscarriage of justice.
The matter was referred to the Court of Appeal which reviewed the application.
The man, in court documents, claimed he was pressured by his legal representative, statements made by the sentencing judge, and his medical conditions, which constituted grounds for an acquittal.
He claimed his legal team, made up of a barrister with more than 40 years experience in criminal law, and instructing solicitor from Legal Aid, had gotten him to sign a document indicating his guilty plea which he had been unable to read.
He said he suffered uncontrolled diabetes managed by insulin, and that he was clinically blind in one eye, and had 50% sight in the left.
That meant he was unable to sign a document which carried his guilty plea which was then tendered to the court and resulted in him sentenced to a period of imprisonment.
However, the Court of Appeal found his pleas before the Toowoomba District Court were voluntary, and questioned how, if the man was hard of sight, was able to sign each of the four pages precisely where indicated, and on a line above his printed name.
The Justices also found that the man had pleaded guilty when re-arraigned on the charges which was entered into the court record.
The man had further claimed that after he was pressured to sign the document, his instructing solicitor had inserted a paragraph above the line where he signed his name.
The Justices rejected that "scandalous allegation".
"We find that this was a proposition that the appellant fabricated in order to explain how, on his version of events, without usable eyesight, he was able to insert his signature at precisely the designated point for a signature," the court ruling states.
"On his version, he merely signed on the last page of the document at some point in the middle of the page above which there was no writing.
"Failing that story, he could not explain the precision with which he was able to place his signature just at the right spot on the page although he could see nothing."
The appeal was dismissed.