Former crabber brought to justice over molesting boy
THE BOY was fishing alone when the man met him.
After making his acquaintance, Allen John Downes would sometimes drive the boy to places to fish or go bodyboarding.
But Downes also molested the boy.
It would take many years, an emotional breakdown, and two chance sightings before Downes faced justice.
The boy was 12 or 13 when he met Downes at Maroochydore, the Court of Appeal said in a new judgment.
Downes was a crabber who fished and worked at Tin Can Bay.
The abuse happened in 1999 or 2000 but the boy only mentioned it when he was a man in his twenties.
"It all became too much for him to deal with," Justice Hugh Fraser said.
"He broke down and told his brother what had happened with the man he used to go fishing with."
Years later, the young man saw Downes driving a white Commodore.
He went to see police, began writing down his account of the abuse but stopped and threw out the paper, Justice Fraser said.
But in another chance sighting, the young man was driving and saw Downes out walking.
Nearby, he saw landmarks reminding him of where Downes lived.
In August last year, a Maroochydore jury found Downes guilty of wilfully exposing a child under 16 to an indecent film, and of indecent dealing.
Downes was convicted and got 15 months jail, suspended after six months.
But Downes appealed, arguing the guilty verdicts were unreasonable.
Downes, now 62, denied any sexually inappropriate behaviour.
He said the person complaining about him could not even properly identify him.
The victim said the man he met at the ramp wore stubby pants and had "sort of grey, scruffy hair".
Downes said that in 1999 and 2000 he did not have grey hair.
Downes had no prior criminal history. At his trial, a retired QPS sergeant said Downes was of good character.
But the appeal court said the jury had no reason to doubt the young man's credibility.
The appeal court said Downes had no meaningful fresh evidence to advance.
The appeal against conviction was refused. -NewsRegional