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Former ambassador was in ‘deep shock’ at child abuse allegations towards husband

July 2, 2015 ·  By Christopher Knaus for www.canberratimes.com.au

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Vytas Kapociunas, who is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl, at the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Vytas Kapociunas, who is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl, at the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Australia’s former ambassador to Spain has spoken of being in a state of “deep shock” during a sleepless flight to Canberra, where police were waiting to interview her husband over child abuse allegations.

The trial of Vytas Kapociunas, 71, continued in the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday. Mr Kapociunas is alleged to have sexually assaulted a young girl three times at his home in Spain.

The accusations came to light after the child told her mother that she had a “secret” and that she thought Mr Kapociunas liked her, before describing the alleged abuse.

Vytas Kapociunas' wife Jane Hardy at the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Vytas Kapociunas’ wife Jane Hardy at the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday. Photo: Jamila Toderas

The artist and sculptor has denied sexually abusing the child, saying he had only ever tickled her and blew raspberries on her stomach.

Ms Hardy told the court she had been left in a state of “deep shock” upon learning of the girl’s accusations.

She said she returned home with her husband to Canberra Airport, where police were waiting for them at the bottom of the escalators.

Defence barrister Bernard Collaery asked whether her or her husband had gotten any sleep on the plane.

She replied:

“No, none at all.

“We were in deep shock and anxiety. We had been told of this shocking allegation and were incredibly distressed.

“That feeling of shock and anxiety continued for many days after that.”

Ms Hardy said they were offered no counselling or legal advice, and were not aware that the interview was to take place immediately upon their return.

Earlier on Wednesday, the child’s father gave evidence, much of which cannot be reported to protect his daughter’s identity.

He was asked about an incident in which he returned to find the girl topless with Mr Kapociunas.

The father said he thought little of it, and still doesn’t, saying they were probably running around and got hot.

Mr Collaery accused him of lying about the incident, and he replied:

“That’s the truth, that’s the way I recall it.

“I still don’t see anything significant in it, they were running around with their tops off.

“It was just a recollection of events.”

Mr Collaery also asked the father whether he had ever discussed the Rolf Harris child abuse case around his daughter.

He said he had not.

“I don’t discuss paedophilia in front of my daughter.”

The father said he did not watch television news, and that his wife only watched Spanish-language news once the children had gone to bed.

The trial continues before Chief Justice Helen Murrell on Thursday, when Ms Hardy is expected to continue her evidence.

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