The woman who accused Maggie Kirkpatrick of molesting her as a teenager has been taken from court in an ambulance after the actor’s child sex charges were thrown out on appeal, reported AAP.
Kirkpatrick embraced family and friends in the County Court on hearing her conviction on child sex charges had been overturned.
Speaking outside court Kirkpatrick said she was relieved and thanked her family, legal team and fans for standing by her for two years.
“It’s been rather difficult, but I’m very happy with the result,” Maggie Kirkpatrick told reporters.
Kirkpatrick, who was best known for playing The Freak on acclaimed small-screen soapie Prisoner, was found guilty in August of two counts of indecent assault and one of committing gross indecency with a girl under 16.
She was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order involving 100 hours’ unpaid work over 12 months but appealed her conviction to the County Court.
The court heard testimony from the victim, her husband and Detective Senior Constable Katherine Mitchell, who said Ms Maggie Kirkpatrick met the girl when she was 14 years old when she was in a psychiatric hospital. They met through a mutual friend.
These verdicts were overturned and Judge Geoffrey Chettle set aside the conviction and dismissed all three charges today.
Judge Chettle set said he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the crimes occurred.
The Judge described Maggie Kirkpatrick’s evidence as “somewhat flowery in style” but said she remained “untouched in cross-examination”.
He noted inconsistencies in the accuser’s story although said she was “careful and considered”.
Yesterday the court heard Kirkpatrick cooked the 14-year old girl rabbit stew and watched the Logies with her before allegedly assaulting her.
Kirkpatrick denied any wrongdoing but did admit she had picked the girl up from a psychiatric hospital and drove her to her home for a meal.
“I simply saw it as an act of kindness … to have a bit of home life for a day,” she said.
“Some of my alcohol were consumed without my permission and it made me feel uncomfortable with the seeming reliance she may have been forming for me,” Kirkpatrick said.
“These [accusations] are making me feel quite ill,” she said. “You have astonished me with those allegations … it’s beyond comprehension.
“They are vicious and untrue,’’ she said of the accusations.
Outside court after the successful appeal, she said, “I simply want to thank my legal team, my beautiful family and the hundreds of fans and members of the acting fraternity who have stood by me for the last two years,” she said.
“It’s been rather difficult, but I am very happy with the result”.
According to The Herald Sun, the accuser collapsed when the decision was handed down and was treated by paramedics at the County Court.