A MAN who molested a 15-year-old girl as she lay dying after a crash walks free in what has now become a historic child abuse case.
Alexander Ian Grant had given a lift to Cindy Smith, 15, and her cousin Mona, 16, in New South Wales Australia in 1987 when he crashed his car.
The incident happened in Bourke in New South Wales, Australia[/caption]
After the impact, Grand sexually assaulted Cindy while her cousin lay partially scaped just metres away.
Grant, who had consumed copious amounts of alcohol, then apparently interfered with Cindy’s clothing and molested her as she was dying or when she had just passed away.
According to reports Cindy’s body was laid out on a tarpaulin and her clothing had been pushed up and down to her ankles, The Australian reported.
Two witnesses who arrived first on the scene found Cindy’s body lying next to Grand with her legs together.
“If they had been white girls, it would have been a big issue.”
But the first police officer to arrive afterwards found Cindy’s legs had been moved to expose her genitals.
The family is now demanding an inquest into Cindy’s death, with her mother arguing the case would have been treated differently if she was white.
“If they had been white girls, it would have been a big issue. It would have been in the paper, there would have been big talk,” Ms Smith said.
Grant’s 1990 acquittal attracted no major media attention.
A high powered legal team got Grant off the charges of culpable driving causing death, arguing that Mona was behind the wheel when the car crashed.
But Grant had previously told police he was the one driving prior to the crash, before changing the version of events.
Investigators failed to test the car’s steering wheel for Mona’s fingerprints.
Grant also never faced charges of perverting the course of justice despite having the steering wheel removed from the wreckage a day after the crash.
In March this year, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller sent a letter to Attorney-General Mark Speakman stating that two independent inquiries found the police handling to be “adequate”.
‘NO ONE WANTS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY’
Mr Fuller said that because Grant is now dead, an inquest into the girls’ deaths “will adduce new or additional information”.
Mona’s sister Fiona Smith said the police commissioner’s letters angered her.
“I didn’t like what I read in the letters. I don’t agree with it and neither does [Mona’s mother]. ‘It’s like they’re ducking and weaving and no one wants to take responsibility,” she said.
Ms Smith’s lawyers have called on the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions to reassess its response.
“What was important was the evidence, accepted by the magistrate, that Cindy was dead when she was found by two independent witnesses, and that an alleged offence (moving her legs to expose her genitals) took place after that,” Principal solicitor George Newhouse from the National Justice Project said.
The 15-year-old’s mother and Bourke indigenous elder Dawn Smith said the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision to drop a sexual offence charge against Grant was “disappointing”.
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Three years after the incident, a charge against Grant to “offer indignity to a dead human body” was dropped just days out from his District Court Trial.
Cindy’s family were not aware of the decision which was one of the reasons why he avoided time in jail.
The interference with a corpse charge was later dropped because the coroner was unable to determine the exact time that Cindy died and may have been alive while she was assaulted.
Grant never faced any jail time before dying in 2017.
Last year the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions apologised for failing to inform the family of the withdrawal of charges but maintained it made the correct legal decision.
“I have not been able to identify any error in the ultimate decision that was made or this office’s consideration of the relevant legal issues,” NSW Public Prosecutions, Huw Baker SC, told the family in a letter from last November.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said he believed he found the police handling to be “adequate”[/caption]