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A teenage boy accused of raping a girl he knew at a party west of Sydney has successfully appealed against his sexual assault convictions.
The decision overturns a nine-month sentence in youth detention for the sexual assault, which was alleged to have occurred when the former Katoomba High School student was 16 and attending a house party in the Blue Mountains.
On Friday, Judge Huw Baker allowed the appeal at the Penrith District Court, which was attended by the alleged victim’s father as well as the teenage boy and his family.
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The judge found he could not reject the boy’s account of what happened and the possibility that it may be correct.
“Overall I found his evidence concerning the sexual activity to be internally consistent and not implausible,” the judge said.
“I’m not satisfied of the appellant’s guilt for each of the charges beyond reasonable doubt. The conviction appeal is allowed.”
A separate appeal by prosecutors over what they claimed was a “manifestly inadequate” sentence has been dismissed as a result of Friday’s court outcome.
The incident allegedly took place in November 2019 after a night of drinking at the party, with the teenage girl claiming she drifted in and out of consciousness.
In May last year, the Parramatta Children’s Court found the victim had initially consented, but the magistrate found there was a clear line at which this consent was withdrawn.
These findings have now been overturned.
The accused, who cannot be legally named, had been convicted on six counts of sexual assault and one count of intentional choking.
The boy has always denied the activity was non-consensual, claiming the teenage girl led him into the room by taking him by the hand.
He told the court he had asked if any sexual activity was OK “every 30 seconds” because he was “cautious about consent”.
The alleged victim’s father, who also cannot be identified, said he was deeply shocked by Friday’s decision.
“We 100 per cent believe our daughter when she says that she was raped,” he said outside court.
“Every single day we see our daughter’s poor mental health and her inability to lead a normal life. She was unable to take her HSC exams and has been totally destroyed by the experience.”
He criticised the court process, saying it had taken 2½ years to reach this stage.
The father said a civil lawsuit could be on the cards against the teenage boy as well as the NSW Department of Education.
“This is not acceptable. Our daughter has been left with severe PTSD and this legal action has further compounded the trauma that she experienced as a result of the incident,” he said.
“We will now look at whether we can take legal action in the civil court. Our only concern is our daughter may not be well enough to undertake that legal action. Justice must prevail.”
Sydney teenager learns outcome of appeal on rape conviction
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