A Canberra man accused of sexual offences against a 14-year-old girl has clashed with the prosecution over when he developed a sexual interest in the girl.
The 58-year-old admitted to the ACT Supreme Court the pair had little in common but he fell in love with the girl from their first kiss, which he said took place in December 2000.
Under questioning from the prosecution he denied he had a sexual interest in her from the time they met in 1999.
He said at that time he had a sexual relationship with another woman, and did not have sex with the girl until 2001.
The pair went on to have four children together, one of them conceived when the woman was underage.
The former Central American political refugee denied claims by the alleged victim that he flattered her, cooked for her and told her he wanted to look after her.
He said he was aware there was a sizable age difference at the time but has maintained he did not know exactly how young she was.
He said she told him she was 17 when they met and he did not realise her true age until their first child was born after she had turned 16.
Differing stories on reaction to first pregnancy
Prosecutor Emilija Beljic questioned the man’s account, after evidence from the alleged victim that she told him she was 14 after their second encounter.
Ms Beljic also put to him he had been very angry about her pregnancy.
“You yelled and swore at her because you had the burden of potentially supporting a child when you were already in a difficult position yourself,” Ms Beljic said.
The man rejected that, saying: “No, I was happy because I wanted a child.”
When asked about the same issue, the man told his own barrister, Katrina Musgrove, he did not meet his daughter until some time after she was born.
“I recognised her because she looked exactly the same as my daughter,” he said.
“How did you respond when she said she was pregnant?” Ms Musgrove asked.
“I was very happy because I wanted to have a relationship with [her] and I also wanted to have my child closer to me,” he said.
The case is expected to wrap up tomorrow.