Another high profile sexual abuse trial ends without a verdict

Another high profile sexual abuse trial ends without a verdict

trials

The jury in the trial of former Mosman swimming coach Kyle Daniels was discharged after it failed to reach a verdict on the twenty-one outstanding charges against him.

22-year-old Daniels pleaded not guilty to a total of twenty-six charges, relating to nine girls aged between 5 and 10 who he had taught at Mosman Swim Centre in 2018 and 2019. Last week, Daniels was found not guilty of five of the charges relating to one of the girls.

The discharge of the jury follows a seven-week trial, with jurors saying they were at “a deadlock” and could not come up with a unanimous verdict on the remaining charges. The case will return to court in February 2021.

Kyle Daniels’ child sexual abuse trial is just the latest in a number of high-profile trials that have ended without a verdict this year.

Two weeks ago, former NRL player Jarryd Hayne’s sexual assault trial ended with a hung jury that was discharged after it failed to reach a verdict. Hayne faced trial on two counts of aggravated sexual intercourse without consent, recklessly inflicting bodily harm. It is alleged he sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman in her home, two years ago.

At the end November, the jury in the sexual assault trial of NRL player Jack de Belin and his co-accused Callan Sinclair was discharged, after it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Both men pleaded not guilty to five charges of aggravated sexual assault, including one of inflicting actual bodily harm. de Belin and Sinclair will face retrial in April 2021.

In each of these high-profile cases, jurors considered the evidence before them and each time, they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

In each case, there are alleged survivors of sexual abuse, including children aged between 5 and 10 years old, who now face the reality of a retrial. For the women and children, it means more, and continued scrutiny over the Christmas break and well into 2021, with the real possibility that they will each go through another trial without receiving the outcome they are hoping for.

The criminal justice system is failing alleged victims like the women and children in these cases, putting extended and undue pressure on their mental health as they are forced to endure retrials.

Last week, actor Craig McLachlan was found not guilty of assault allegations made by four different women, dating back to 2014. Magistrate Belinda Wallington said the four female complainants were “brave and honest witnesses” but ultimately found McLachlan not guilty of seven indecent assault charges and six common assault charges.

The Magistrate said the evidence did not meet standards according to the laws as they applied in 2014. If the allegations had occurred in 2020, the outcome may have been different.

High profile cases like these that end without conviction go a long way to ensuring other survivors of sexual assault will never come forward and press charges. It’s time for a criminal justice system that prioritises the need of alleged victims above all else.

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