John McMartin, the founder of Inspire Church, has been accused of committing an act of indecent assault against a young woman. McMartin has entered a not-guilty plea, and a recent judgment indicated that the evidence regarding the church founder's alleged misconduct had significant discrepancies.
Indecent Assault on A Young Woman
According to the testimony presented in court, the incident occurred in January 2013 at the residence of an evangelical pastor and former TV preacher's Pleasure Point residence. A few days later, the woman, who was 19 at the time, reportedly complained to a pastor before sending a formal complaint to the Australian Christian Churches, News.com reported. After being ruled guilty of one count of indecently assaulting a woman following a hearing in Local Court, John McMartin was given a 16-month suspended prison term earlier this year. The punishment was to be completed through an intensive correction order within the year. As mentioned, McMartin has denied having sexually inappropriate contact with the woman and has entered a not-guilty plea to the accusation against him.
On Monday, Jun 19, McMartin made a brief appearance before the NSW District Court to appeal his conviction and sentence. Moreover, the attorney for the defense, Philip Strickland SC, informed the judge that one of the reasons for appealing was because of the evidence provided by the accuser. Atty. Strickland contended that the complainant had presented a different account of the events in many comments that she had given. He also testified before the judge that the woman's statement to the police was missing significant claims, such as that McMartin massaged the woman's genitals and pinched her breasts. In addition, the attorney asserted that Magistrate Peter Thompson committed an error when he made unfavorable conclusions about McMartin's attitude and behavior while the case was being heard in the Local Court the previous year.
Church Founder's Conviction Overturned
District Court Judge Andrew Scotting concluded that Mr. McMartin's guilt could not be established beyond a reasonable doubt. He pointed out that Mr. McMartin had denied everything over and over again, had taken part in an official interview with the police, and had voluntarily testified in court. Mail Online reported that the judge also considered that he was 67 years old, had no previous convictions, and had "lived a life of faith and service to others."
Furthermore, it was relayed to the court that the woman said she had repressed specific recollections of the alleged encounter, which she later remembered. Judge Scotting remarked that the complainant's testimony that she was trying to forget what had happened and that she had repressed memories prompted him to have a few concerns about her proof. 'I am not sure if her evidence was a recollection of the events of the night or a reconstruction of them through discussions with others,' the judge added.
As per MSN, McMartin was at a 'forensic disadvantage' of his delay in filing the lawsuit and the loss of text messages and phone records, which the church founder claimed provided evidence supporting his version of the occurrences. However, since the complainant's testimony showed 'critical inconsistencies,' Judge Scotting overturned both Mr. McMartin's conviction and the penalty imposed on him.