Incest case: Questions over daughter linger

THE complicity of a Gympie woman who had sex with and conceived a child with her father has been questioned, with serious concerns raised about her mental acuity.

Facing a charge of incest yesterday, the Gympie District Court heard how the woman was evaluated by psychological professionals to determine to what extent she knew of what she was doing.

The findings showed the woman has an IQ that places her in the bottom 2% of all Australians.

Functionally illiterate, her ability to recognise the illegality of what she was doing and subsequently understand police questions was called into question.

When the defendant's identity as an Aboriginal was raised in court, further questions were asked of the Gympie police officer who handled the case.

Under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act, officers must at least attempt to notify a legal representative when questioning Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.

However, officers can waive this obligation if they believe or suspect the person is not at a disadvantage in comparison with other Australians.

"I did not believe the defendant was at a disadvantage when I interviewed her," the officer said.

"I do not believe she's at a disadvantage now. I let her know about legal representation being offered to her and she declined."

The father was convicted of incest in February this year and sentenced to four years in jail, suspended after nine months.

At the time of the offences, the now 48-year-old had not seen his daughter since she was a child. Wanting to be a part of her life again, they had been reconnected for nearly two years before they began having sex.

This sexual relationship lasted for seven years and resulted in the birth of a girl, now nearly six years old. That child has serious physical, mental and general health problems.

There have been numerous trips to hospital, with the girl experiencing ongoing hearing difficulties and intellectual disabilities.

The father's mental ability was compared to that of a nine-year-old.

With yesterday marking the end of the District Court sitting, the matter of the woman's case has been adjourned until a later date can be determined.

Gympie Times

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