A MOREE principal has been cleared of indecent assault allegations against a young girl in Moree.
Hilton Humphries walked free yesterday afternoon from Moree Local Court after he was acquitted of two counts following a two-day hearing.
Magistrate Greg Grogin dismissed both the indecent assault charges after evidence from numerous witnesses and the accused.
“I’m not satisfied the offence occurred,” Mr Grogin told the court late yesterday.
Humphries did not say anything to media as he left yesterday, but several supporters embraced him when he exited the courtroom.
The 60-year-old, who has maintained his innocence throughout the case, took the stand yesterday and denied the allegations but admitted he had a close relationship with the young girl and had teased her on the day in question, telling her he was the only who “could give her flowers”.
When asked of his intention, Humphries said “it was just to have fun, I’d often do that.”
Hilton told the court the young girl was on the other side of the desk when he stood up to give her a tissue.
He admitted she became upset as a result of the teasing.
“I said ‘sorry, here have a tissue’ and passed her one,” he said.
Under repeated questioning from DPP solicitor Jonathan May, Humphries denied allegations he was exposing himself when he went to give her a hug.
“That is not true,” Humphries told the court.
A number of witnesses took the stand yesterday on the second day of the hearing, including the father of the young girl, a school administrative assistant, as well as the mother of a friend of the alleged victim.
In closing submissions, Mr May said the young girl’s evidence was consistent during many hours of cross- examination and she was not shaken.
He said Humphries had made a “very powerful” threat to the girl if she told anyone what had allegedly occurred and the girl’s evidence was consistent with the complaint made on December 24 last year which sparked the investigation by police.
But the defence argued the evidence had to be rejected.
A solicitor said Humphries had told no lies, was consistent in cross-examination and was not afraid to admit he had a close relationship with the young girl.
In dismissing the charges, Mr Grogin said the young girl had shown her capability to lie on different occasions, as well as her ability to manipulate situations.
Humphries remains before the court on separate charges of aggravated sexual abuse.