Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street.
Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street. Marc Stapelberg

Coach's lewd comments to boy before alleged sexual assault

A SPORTS coach who allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old player at a Lismore sporting ground last year had previously touched him inappropriately and made lewd comments towards him, a court has heard.

The trial of the Ballina man has been running in Lismore District Court since Monday.

It concerns a series of assaults that allegedly unfolded in the course of a few minutes in the changing room of a popular sporting facility in Lismore last April.

The man faces seven charges in relation to two alleged incidents, including the aggravated sexual assault of a person under 16, the alternative charge of sexual intercourse with a person between 14 and 16, and three counts of indecent assault of a person under 16.

The court has ordered a suppression order on the identity of the victim, and to fully comply with that The Northern Star has elected not to name the sport or the accused offender.

In his closing address to the jury on Friday, Crown prosecutor J Hanna asked the jury to believe the "compelling" evidence of the alleged victim.

Mr Hanna said the 14-year-old came across as "extremely conscientious", and was very careful to be "deliberate, accurate and detailed" in his account of the incident to police.

"He spoke in a very straightforward way, ... you might describe it as being very black and white," Mr Hanna told the jury.

"I'd suggest you wouldn't think he was giving elaborated or exaggerated accounts... not trying to make up things to sound worse than they were," he said.

Mr Hanna noted that the boy was at first "reluctant" to explain the exact details of the alleged abuse but it was enough for his teacher to take the matter to the school principal who then informed police.

"The way all that came out is not consistent with someone making up a lie about the accused," he said.

The court heard the boy had previously given evidence about two prior incidents with the coach which occurred in 2016.

In one of those incidents, the man allegedly touched the boy's genitals through his pants which "might have been done in such away that it could be excused as an accident", Mr Hanna said.

The court also heard on other occasions there was sexual talk "consistent with the accused wanting to normalise sexual matters".

The accused man had a mentoring role with the boy, who was "apologetic with him, compliant with him, and to some degree scared of him", Mr Hanna said.

In his police interview, the man flatly denied the allegations.

The trial has also heard conflicting evidence about where exactly the accused man was during the day and for how long. Some of the evidence indicated there was only a very short time for him to commit the alleged offences.

The trial continues.



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