CHARACTER WITNESSES: Sally Pilgrim and her daughter, Tasmin Pilgrim, after giving testimony on Monday to the character of Lifestyle Solutions founder Davoid Hogg. THREE character witnesses giving evidence on Monday at the District Court trial of Lifestyle Solutions founder David Hogg spoke of a man with “very high personal and professional ethics” and “great integrity” who put “others before himself”.
As the court heard last week, Mr Hogg is charged with one count of sexual intercourse without consent, which allegedly took place in July 1988 when he was a 35-year-oldmarried Baptist minister and the complainant was a 16-year-old schoolgirl who had been in his care that day.
The defence accepts that the two went for a drive that Friday evening but says that Mr Hogg did not touch her in any way.
hFOURTH DAY: David Hogg, right, and his lawyer, Hugo Aston, leaving Downing Centre courts on Monday after the resumption of Mr Hogg’s trial on Monday.
In summing up on Monday afternoon, defence barrister Mark Dennis said it was open to the jury to find that the complainant had told “a red hot lie” about what had happened in the vehicle. He said the accused, Mr Hogg, “doesn’t have to prove anything at all”.
Monday’s first witness, clinical psychologist Thomas Sibbald, said he met Mr Hogg about 27 years ago when Mr Hogg’s organisation was bidding to run some group homes, and he was working for the disability department.
He said Mr Hogg had “very high personal and professional ethics”.
Teacher Sally Pilgrim said Mr Hogg was a family friend and a person of “great integrity in everything”: he had taken her daughter alone for driving lessons.
The daughter, Tasmin Pilgrim, said he put others before himself and was the most generous person she’d ever met.
In summing the Crown case, the prosecutor went through a list of matters that were not in dispute, which included the complainant telling a school friend –Jamie Parker, now the Greens state MP for Balmain –who told his mother, who complained to the school.
The prosecutor said that the school later contacted the church but the school never interviewed the complainant and the church “swept it under the carpet”.
He referred to a poem the complainant had written soon after the alleged assault, that included the lines: “I’m still 16, and only then by a month . . . where in the Bible does it say this is right” and “deceived by a title, never again”.
Mr Dennis said there was only the complainant’sword about when it was written, adding that“a lie told more than once does not become the truth”.
He said “somebody is not telling the truth” about Mr Hogg being at the school because “he was not at the school”.
“I would suggest her evidence is a red hot lie, a red hot lie,” Mr Dennis said.
The jury is likely to start deliberating on Tuesday.