Child molesting former show boss loses appeal

Disgraced former Warwick Show and Rodeo Society president Neville John Fanning.
Disgraced former Warwick Show and Rodeo Society president Neville John Fanning. Eloise Handley

A REMORSELESS, recidivist child molester who was formerly a show and rodeo society president has failed to overturn a conviction for inappropriately touching a girl.

Neville John Fanning, formerly the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society president, was once well known across southeast Queensland.

In May, he was found guilty on one count of indecently treating a child under 16.

Fanning, now in his mid-70s, was charged with indecent treatment after incidents from the mid-1980s resurfaced.

A woman said that when she was about 12 or 13 she was sitting on Fanning's lap in a ute and he touched her breasts.

Fanning was convicted on that count.

A second count followed an allegation Fanning touched the girl on the genital area on the outside of her clothing.

But Fanning was acquitted on that count.

He appealed the conviction, saying it was inconsistent with the acquittal.

In a new Queensland Court of Appeal judgment, Justice Philip Morrison said jurors were "confronted with an inconsistency” in evidence.

The woman who complained about molestation gave evidence Fanning used his fingers to touch her genital area.

Jurors heard her explanations to another witness were that Fanning's hands "were all over her” including "too high up her leg to be comfortable” and on her pants.

"Those inconsistencies were matters for the jury to weigh,” Justice Morrison said.

"Given the delay in bringing this case to trial, a lack of detail was to be expected and the jury were directed to have regard for the credibility and reliability of the evidence in light of that delay.”

Justice Morrison said the jury reached a logical conclusion.

The appeal was dismissed.

Barely three months after his conviction on these charges, Fanning was found guilty on three counts of indecently treating a child under 16.

At his sentencing for those charges on August 31, Judge Deborah Richards said Fanning had assaulted more than one child over the years.

Fanning showed no remorse that day, the Toowoomba Chronicle reported.


Topics:  indecent treatment judge deborah richards jury trial justice philip morrison neville john fanning toowoomba court warwick warwick show and rodeo society

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