Reasonable doubt sees acquittal in sex case
ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Terence Higgins. Photo: Lannon Harley
A foreign national accused of sexually assaulting an intellectually disabled woman has been acquitted.
Vishnu Vijay, 27, was accused of having sexual intercourse and committing four acts of indecency without consent on the 44-year-old woman.
Mr Vijay pleaded not guilty before the ACT Supreme Court in a judge-only trial in September last year, arguing the assault did not happen.
Chief Justice Terence Higgins on Friday dismissed the allegations as there was a reasonable doubt.
The court heard the Indian national visited the complainant, a friend of his wife, in October 2010 to give her a gift, as it was a cultural expression of friendship.
When he arrived, the woman said Mr Vijay claimed he was a physiotherapist and masseur and could relieve the bloating in her stomach. She said he removed her underpants, placed his finger in her anus, and rubbed her breasts and groin.
But Mr Vijay argued the assault did not occur and that he attended her home at her invitation.
He said he had arrived with his wife's severely disabled nephew. He said the woman complained about her carers and asked him to massage her legs and head, which he did.
But Mr Vijay said he left when the she became angry and struck his wife's nephew.
In a judgment published on Friday, Chief Justice Higgins found the complainant's version the most probable, but dismissed the charges as there was a reasonable doubt.
''If it was a case of adjudging the more probable account of what occurred, the result might well be different,'' the judge wrote.
But he wrote that: ''Having seen and heard each of the complainant and the accused I do have a reasonable doubt. Accordingly there must be a verdict of not guilty''.