Kyle Daniels: Closing argument in swim teacher’s child sexual touching trial

The lawyer of former swim teacher Kyle Daniels has torn into allegations the 24-year-old sexually touched his underage students.

Defence barrister Leslie Nichols continued closing remarks in Sydney’s Downing District Court on Friday as the almost two-month trial neared its end.

Mr Nichols questioned the reliability of evidence given by the students and their parents, describing many of the claims as “implausible” and some as “impossible”.

Mr Daniels is facing 21 charges relating to sexually touching nine young girls he taught at the Mosman Swim Centre on Sydney’s lower north shore between 2018 and 2019.

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and denies ever deliberately touching the girls in an inappropriate manner.

Mr Daniels’ parents and twin brother sat in the back of the court for Friday’s hearing that coincided with his birthday, having supported him throughout the trial.

Drawing on expert testimony regarding child memory given during the trial, Mr Nichols questioned the girls’ recollections of events and asked in some cases if they had “adopted” versions that never occurred.

Mr Nichols also relied on changes to the testimony of some of the parents whom he said might have been motivated by the nature of the offences to act in a way more likely to secure a conviction.

He suggested one of the fathers of the alleged victims had adapted his testimony based on that of the mother, in violation of orders given by presiding judge Kara Shead not to discuss their evidence.

“Because of the nature of the offences, the abhorrent nature – the ‘how could someone do that to a child?’ – they wanted him convicted,” Mr Nichols said.

“They were prepared to do things they otherwise wouldn’t do because they believed he’d done something to their daughter.”

Police also provided one of the parents with a partially pre-written “script” that would become her statement and was changed by police before she signed it, Mr Nichols told the court.

“Can you rely on it?” he asked the jury.

Allegations against Mr Daniels only came to light after his 2019 arrest, which was widely publicised in the media.

Mr Nichols said the parents were aware of the allegations being aired in the media and approached their children with questions based on allegations that were already out there.

He said according to expert witness testimony, children were susceptible to adopting memories of events that didn’t occur through suggestibility.

Mr Nichols said this may have been the case with one of the alleged victims who initially denied to her father that anything had occurred.

“No matter how many times she told her father that nothing happened at swimming lessons, he was not going to accept it,” Mr Nichols said.

“When you consider the expert opinion … does that not raise a question of reliability with such a young child?

“There came a point where the child says what the father expected to hear.”

Mr Nichols described one of the alleged incidents as “so unlikely and unbelievable” that the jury would have no trouble concluding it didn’t happen.

Mr Daniels is accused of touching one of the complainants under her swimming costume during a swimming lesson that Mr Nichols said was “impossible” without her reacting in a way that would have been noticed.

“It’s impossible to envisage that happening to a consenting adult who is ready, willing and able to do it, let alone a seven-year-old child in a costume,” he said.

“But the Crown case is that happened based on what she said.

“An acquittal is the only possible verdict for that count.”

Closing statements will continue next week, with the jury expected to adjourn for deliberation on Tuesday.

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