A PROMINENT businessman accused of one count of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault was set free by the High Court in Suva yesterday.
Sitting in the accused box, the defendant, the owner of a constructions company, buried his head in relief as the three assessors found him not guilty on all three counts.
Justice Salesi Temo, in his judgment, said the assessors unanimously found the accused not guilty because the prosecution did not prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
He said he agreed with the assessors and found the accused not guilty as charged.
"You are free to go home," Justice Temo said in his judgment.
While summing up the case, Justice Temo told the assessors the medical report appeared not to help the prosecution's case because the doctor who examined the victim was not in a position to conclude whether the girl was sexually assaulted or not.
He said there was no sign of tear and, according to the doctor, if there were any injuries it would take two to three months to heal. The accused, in his evidence, said he would drop the victim, who was his then girlfriend's daughter, off at school, pick her up again and drop her off at her mother's place and later pick her up and take her home.
He said the mother had asked that the girl stay with him so she could look for a flat.
The man told the court he met the complainant's mother in 2006 and they were involved in a relationship which later turned volatile.
He said the relationship ended up with the pair "having arguments almost every day, although we loved each other, in early 2008".
The man said his then girlfriend and her daughter moved in with him in 2007.
He said the allegations against him were a complete fabrication.