A stepfather has been acquitted and discharged of the offence of acts of indecency after the stepdaughter admitted in court that the statement she made to the police against her stepfather was not true.

The defendant was charged with one count of acts of indecency with a young person, contrary to section 98A of the Penal Code.

The Prosecution’s case was that a complaint was made against the accused by his stepdaughter in the month of February 2012 at their house in Port Vila.

The complaint was that the accused pushed the stepdaughter toward the wall of the house and rubbed her buttock and stomach with his hand.

She pushed him away, opened the door and got off.

The complainant was called as the only witness for the Prosecution.

She gave evidence and that now she is working at a resort and has a boyfriend and a baby.

The complainant said it is true that she made a statement but the allegation made was not true.

She said the reason the statement was made was because when she was a child, her mother looked after her alone.

Then her mother came and lived with her stepfather who treated her mother badly.

She mentioned incidents of assault by her stepfather against her mother.

On one occasion, her stepfather assaulted their mother in front of her and her brothers, which was the cause of her hating him.

She then came up with the idea of making a false statement on the criminal allegation with the intention of separating her mother from her stepfather.

When she filed the complaint, she thought it would only remain with the police.

She never thought it would reach the court.

She apologized to her stepfather and to the court for making the statement.

Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek, who heard the case gave the complainant a stern warning of the likely serous situation she was putting herself into.

“Making a lying or untrue statement and knowing it to be untrue to secure the conviction of an innocent person is a very serious offence.

“I advise the prosecution to consider the matter.

“It is now up to the prosecution.

“I acquit and discharge the Defendant straight away of the offence of acts of indecency, contrary to section 98A of the Penal Code charged against him as the prosecution cannot prove the elements of the offence as the Defendant did not commit the offence he was charged with.”