A PAPUA New Guinean girl told a family member she had made up a rape claim that sent a Queensland man to jail on a sex tourism charge, a Brisbane court has heard.
Cairns charter pilot Frederic Arthur Martens was sentenced to five years jail by a Queensland court in October 2006 over the 2001 sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in PNG.
But in April, Australian attorney-general Robert McClelland ordered the case be referred to the Queensland court of appeal after new evidence came to light and Martens was granted bail.
The claim revolved around an affidavit from a family member that in November 2003, the teenager told her she was pressured to make up the allegation by Martens’ former partner, Jenny Kosa.
In a hearing before the Court of Appeal in Brisbane yesterday, Dianne Tapari said her niece had made up the claims.
Via a videolink from PNG, the woman said she had questioned the girl at her aunt’s house in 2003 over rumours circulating that she had been raped by Martens.
When asked what the girl’s response was, Ms Tapari told the court: “She said: ‘Oh yeah, I made it up’.”
Asked about the girl’s demeanour, the witness said: “She was serious.”
When prosecutor James Henry, SC, questioned Ms Tapari on why she had not immediately gone to authorities, she said she had initially wondered if it was “only girl talk”.
However, she said she had wanted to make a statement on hearing that Martens had been jailed over the matter.
Ms Tapari said she had made the affidavit this year after breaking up with her husband who had last year prohibited her from doing so unless she was paid for her evidence. The case will continue today.