Monday, November 16, 2009

Pilot's PNG sex assault conviction quashed

A COURT has quashed the conviction of a charter pilot jailed over the sexual assault of a girl in Papua New Guinea.

Frederic Arthur Martens, 60, of Cairns, was sentenced to five years' jail by a Queensland court in October 2006 for a 2001 sexual assault involving a 14-year-old girl.

In April, federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland ordered the case be referred to the Queensland Court of Appeal after new evidence came to light and Mr Martens was granted bail.

The evidence revolves around an affidavit from a family member of the girl saying the teenager told her in November 2003 she had been pressured to make up the allegation by Mr Martens' former partner.

The Court of Appeal today quashed the conviction and set aside the jail order.

"The fresh evidence shows the conviction to have been unreasonable or unsupported by the evidence," the judgment read.

"At the very least it raises a reasonable doubt about the petitioner's guilt."