A serial public sex pest told cops he'd done 'nothing wrong'.
A serial public sex pest told cops he'd done 'nothing wrong'. NewsRegional

Aspiring teacher guilty of child molestation

AN "OPPORTUNISTIC” aspiring teacher told a court he should not have been convicted of a child sex offence.

Gregory Robert Halliday was convicted at Hervey Bay District Court last November of indecent treatment.

But Halliday, in his early 50s, told Queensland Court of Appeal the verdict was unreasonable and a miscarriage of justice.

The girl was seven when she found herself alone with Halliday at his house playing the Minecraft computer game.

In a judgment delivered on Friday, Justice Anthe Philippides said the girl complained of being molested throughout the game, for probably 20 minutes.

Halliday claimed he invited the girl and a boy to play Minecraft together with him - but the boy testified that was untrue.

Halliday said he never recalled any intentional contact "with or in proximity to her groin”.

His lawyers also said jurors "would be naturally sympathetic to a very young child giving evidence about an alleged sexual assault”.

Justice Philippides said both sides agreed the girl was alone in a playroom with Halliday, seated on his lap as he sat on a chair.

"The issues for the jury were limited to where on her body the complainant was touched by the appellant, and if such touching [was] intentional.”

She said the appeal should be dismissed.

However, Justice Philip McMurdo said the jury's verdict was unreasonable.

"It was not open to the jury to be satisfied that any touching of the complainant's vagina (outside of her clothing) was not accidental.”

But Justice James Douglas thought otherwise.

He said there was enough evidence to establish the charge.

"The jurors also had the benefit of having heard the complainant's and the appellant's evidence and had the chance to assess their credit as witnesses,” Justice Douglas added.

The appeal against conviction was dismissed.

Last year, Judge John Robertson described the offence as "prolonged” and "opportunistic”.

Halliday was sentenced to nine months in jail, to be suspended after four months.

The District Court heard Halliday, an engineer, had been studying for an Education degree and moved from the Fraser Coast to Orange, NSW.

- NewsRegional