The convictions of a Victorian man accused of abusing his young sister have been quashed after an appeals court questioned her motive for pursuing the charges in the middle of a fight over their mother's will.
In a 2-1 ruling, Court of Appeal judges on Monday overturned the convictions of the man, who goes by the pseudonym Albert Mejia, saying the jury verdicts were unreasonable and could not be backed by evidence.
He was accused of sexually abusing his sister between 1994 and 2000, from the time she was 11 and he was 16.
But appeal judges Justices Emilios Kyrou and Stephen Kaye found the complainant's evidence unreliable for several reasons and that the jury, acting reasonably, must have had a reasonable doubt about the woman's evidence.
The judges referred to discrepancies between the woman's evidence and the evidence of witnesses, and a false allegation she and her husband made to police that her brother had also indecently assaulted many of her friends.
The judges also took issue with the timing of when the complainant told police, saying she made the allegations after her brother rejected a proposed settlement of their dispute over their mother's will, a fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
"(It) raised a real issue about the motive and approach of the complainant in pursuing the criminal charges against the applicant," Justices Kyrou and Kaye say in a summary of their judgment.
However, the dissenting judge, president of the Appeal Court Chris Maxwell, said the jury deliberated for almost two days and were capable of judging for themselves whether the woman was a credible witness.
"After that long and careful deliberation, the jury came unanimously to the conclusion that she was, beyond reasonable doubt, a witness of truth," he said.