Elderly incest offender gets jail time cut
AN Emerald father in his 80s has lost his appeal against conviction for incest offences committed more than four decades ago.
But the Queensland Court of Appeal has cut his jail time, after the man argued his age meant a five and a half year sentence handed down last year was excessive.
The man and his children lived in the Central Highlands in the early 1970s, then in Brisbane and soon after in Emerald and a fossicking area called Reward.
The daughter, who was a teenager at the time, complained of multiple instances of her father having sex with her.
The girl left home and went with her boyfriend to make a complaint about the father at Rockhampton Police Station in January 1973. But the pair did not complete the statement.
In many of the years that followed, the woman and her father had what the courts described as a "fair" relationship.
In 2011, she made a complaint to police in Victoria. The allegations were referred to police in Queensland.
At Rockhampton District Court in April last year, the father was convicted of two offences of having carnal knowledge of his daughter.
The elderly man appealed, arguing there had been a miscarriage of justice because relevant evidence, including his own, was not presented at last year's trial.
He said he should have been allowed to give evidence at the case, not only to state his innocence "but also to impugn the character of the complainant".
Justice Philip McMurdo, in an appeal judgment handed down on Friday, found there was no miscarriage of justice involved, and the appeal against the convictions was dismissed.
But the sentence was cut to five years jail, to be suspended after two and a half years.
"For a man already in his 80s, a term of five and a half years is onerous and could well be a life sentence," Justice McMurdo said.
He declared each conviction was a domestic violence offence.