Belfast Telegraph

Man found guilty of molesting partner's daughter has convictions quashed

A man found guilty of molesting his partner's daughter today succeeded in having his convictions quashed.

Judges in the Court of Appeal overturned guilty verdicts on two counts of sexual assault due to inadequacies in the charge to the jury.

The man, who is in his early forties but cannot be named, will not face a retrial.

He had been sentenced to three years probation and subjected to a sexual offences prevention order after being convicted of two out of nine counts at Belfast Crown Court in December 2012.

It was claimed that he carried out the sexual assaults between June 2009 and September 2010.

The alleged victim was aged between 15 and 17 at the relevant times.

Lawyers for the man appealed the conviction on a number of grounds, including claims of deficiencies in the trial judge's summing up.

Ruling on the challenge today, Lord Justice Girvan said the jury's rejection of a complainant's credibility on some counts must play into their assessment of her credibility on others.

He held that "the somewhat bald specimen direction required an adjustment in the present case" to make this clear.

Lord Justice Girvan said: "Since for the reasons given the trial judge's charge did not adequately direct the jury on these issues we must quash the convictions."

Counsel for the prosecution then confirmed that a retrial was not being sought.

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