Coach found guilty of raping teen girl

A SPORTS coach, 52, was found guilty on Wednesday of raping a 15-year-old girl in 2001.

He was remanded in custody overnight and will be sentenced on Thursday.

The verdict was handed down by a jury of seven men and five women after a two-day trial.

The coach had pleaded not guilty in the District Court in Mackay to raping the girl and depriving her of her liberty, in November, 2001. However, he had pleaded guilty to the lesser alternative charge of unlawful knowledge of the girl, claiming sex was consensual. The man, the girl, their sport or the township where they lived, cannot be identified by law.

The Crown case was that the girl was driven to an isolated area after a coaching lesson at night and was held down against her will and raped by the coach in a van. The court has heard that the girl gave birth to a boy nine months after the incident and DNA tests proved the sports coach was the father.

Five witnesses testified for the prosecution and the coach did not testify.

Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, for the coach, said in her final address to the jury yesterday that sex took place but it was the defence case that it was consensual. She also urged the jury of seven men and five women to not believe the girl.

"Her conduct after the incident is not consistent with being raped," Ms Hartigan said. "She continued with coaching, twice, with him. She went to sports fixtures and sometimes he'd be there. She went for a one-on-one driving lesson with him for 30 minutes.

"In 2008 she agrees she had consensual sex with him. Up to October 2009 she was still asking him for money.

"It absolutely defies belief that you would have this type of contact with someone who has raped you.

"Why would you go up to him and ask for money? You'd sell a limb before you'd do that."

The jury retired about 11.30am yesterday and returned about 5pm. It found the coach not guilty of deprivation of liberty but guilty of rape, rejecting the defence submission that sex was consensual.

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