Foolish decision: Magistrate would not share bed with teenage boy if he had his life over again, court told

A NSW magistrate accused of indecently assaulting a teenage boy in the early 1980s denies he assaulted the boy, and would not share a bed with him if he had his life over again, a barrister has told a court.

Graeme Bryan Curran, 68, has pleaded not guilty to nine charges of assault with an act of indecency after he allegedly assaulted the boy during a boat trip, at a motel in Bega, and in a "ritual" at his Sydney home where he ran his hands over the boy's naked body after they slept in the same bed with no clothes on.

Graeme Curran arrives at Downing Centre District Court on Monday.

Graeme Curran arrives at Downing Centre District Court on Monday.

Photo: AAP

Mr Curran does not dispute that he sometimes slept in the same bed with the boy, including to save costs on holidays, but denies there was ever touching or that they slept in the nude.

In closing submissions to a NSW District Court jury on Monday, Mr Curran's barrister Phillip Boulten, SC, said sharing a bed with the teenager is "in retrospect perhaps the most foolish decision the Accused has ever made".

"If he had his life over again, you can bet he wouldn't be doing that again," Mr Boulten said.

Mr Boulten said he intended to outline to the jury twenty "worrying features in the evidence" of the alleged victim, including "a history of hypnotism" and the fact that his memories of one assault were "recovered memories" which did not appear in his first police statement.

The trial earlier heard from Dr Gregory Cook, a psychiatrist who treated the man in the early 1990s. Dr Cook denied he performed hypnotism on the man, and said he specifically warned him that if he was given a relaxation treatment it could be "medico-legally undermining" if his case ever went to trial.

Mr Boulten said the jury must ask themselves "serious questions" about the alleged victim's reliability, suggesting the man "made things up", had a "barrow to push" and made allegations that became more serious over time.

"[He] may well be lying. He may well be fudging the truth. He may well be exaggerating. He may honestly believe every single word he said," Mr Boulten said. "He may be wrong for any number of reasons."

Mr Boulten said his client was "exemplary" in his character and had given a strong and consistent denial in his evidence to the trial.

 "The accused is not guilty of the nine charges," Mr Boulten said. "He did not indecently assault [the boy]."

Crown prosecutor Mark Hobart, SC, said the court is "not a court of morals", but a grown man sleeping in the same bed with a teenage boy showed a pattern of "grooming or conditioning" which escalated to touching.

Mr Hobart said there was no denying that Mr Curran is a person of good character, but even people of good character commit offences. He said Mr Curran had a "distinct weakness" of sexual attraction for a young boy.

"You think this is something this boy has made up?" Mr Hobart said. "You think this is a total lie? Or do you think he's telling the truth after all these years?

"The Crown says not only is he not making it up, but the Crown has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. The Crown suggests you will find the Accused guilty”.

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