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Australia Jeffrey Bishop found guilty of sexually abusing young girl 15 years after she first told WA Police

14:15  03 july  2020
14:15  03 july  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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a man looking at the camera: Jeffrey Bishop told police in 2005 he gave the girl pills because she acted sexually towards him. (ABC News: David Weber) © Provided by ABC NEWS Jeffrey Bishop told police in 2005 he gave the girl pills because she acted sexually towards him. (ABC News: David Weber)

A man has been found guilty of sexually abusing a girl he used to babysit, 15 years after the allegations were first raised.

Jeffrey George Bishop was a family friend of the girl, who told police of the abuse in 2005, but he was not charged until 2017.

There was an outpouring of emotion in a Perth court and the victim cried tears of relief after the judge found Bishop guilty on 10 counts.

Outside court, the victim's mother said she was pleased.

"Astounded after 15 years, finally justice has been served," she said.

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"Frustrated it took 15 years to get to this point. He should've been held accountable."

During Bishop's trial last month, the WA District Court heard he was not charged in 2005 because there was no "particularisation of conduct".

The court was told the allegations were first raised by the girl when she was on her way to Bishop's house, when she told her mother she did not want to go and why.

The court was shown three police interviews from 2005, during which the then-eight-year-old, sometimes holding a teddy bear, provided details about the abuse and said Bishop gave her pills.

But at one point, she also said that she did not want to tell them what happened, causing one of the interviewers to say "we can't sit here all day" and "we're trying very, very hard to help you".

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Girl was 'touchy feely', Bishop claimed

In 2005, Bishop denied abusing the girl but said he did give her sleeping pills because she would act sexually towards him.

Bishop, who was then in his 40s, told WA Police the girl saw him as a "father figure".

He claimed she went through a "touchy feely" stage, would do "rude things to him" and would lie on top of him naked.

He also said she would "hunt him like a dog".

More than 10 years later, the victim made a further statement, and Bishop was eventually charged in 2017.

Trial delayed after 'extraordinary' failures

Bishop was meant to go to trial before a jury in May, 2019, but a series of failures prevented it, leading to a scathing assessment by Judge Mark Herron.

The counsel who was briefed for the matter said he only had three days to prepare, with hours of video footage to review.

An investigating officer was also on extended sick leave and had hoped to be excused even though the defence said she was needed.

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It turned out she was overseas.

Judge Herron was strongly critical of the lack of preparation, also referring to the fact that editing of interviews had not been completed.

He said the trial could not proceed "because nobody at the DPP office has properly managed this matter and ensured it's in a position to proceed with a trial".

"It's extraordinary that the investigating officer is overseas and may not even have been served with a summons," he said.

"Certainly, I would expect somebody from the DPP is in a position to respond to all of this [and] needs to provide an explanation to the court why we've got to this position."

Defence lawyer Linda Black said the officer's failure to attend was a "fundamental breach" of requirements and duties.

Abuse took place over five years

The trial finally went ahead in June, with prosecutor Michael Cvetkoski acting for the state, before Judge John Staude sitting in the District Court without a jury.

Bishop, now 62, was facing 10 offences, including multiple counts of penetration of a child under the age of 13, covering the period from 2001 to 2005.

The court heard detailed descriptions of the abuse, which occurred in Bishop's home.

Now aged 23, the victim told the court she felt uncomfortable at times during the interviews in 2005 and "didn't want to be there".

She said she used to write stories and draw pictures instead of verbalising it.

Judge Staude said he found the complainant believable and did not accept Bishop's denials.

The victim's mother said despite the long delays in the case reaching court, she was grateful.

"The state did come through," she said.

"When they finally admitted they stuffed up, they apologised and assured me they would make sure things were done properly.

"Give credit where credit is due."

Judge Staude remanded Bishop in custody and scheduled him to be sentenced in August.

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