Frank Pardon leaves Maroochydore Court.
Frank Pardon leaves Maroochydore Court.

Pardon trial: Hypnosis expert denies memory changed

AN EXPERT in hypnosis denied any suggestion by Frank Pardon's defence team that hypnotherapy could have altered alleged sexual abuse memories as child, a court has heard.

The Noosa councillor's defence barrister Andrew Hoare drilled Dr Warwick Middleton for more than 40 minutes on whether hypnosis could influence the alleged victim's memory and if the practice could create false memories in her mind.

Mr Middleton was the final witness in the prosecution's case which wrapped up on day four of the trial today.

Pardon has pleaded not guilty to 11 sexual-related charges towards a 14-year-old girl.

Dr Middleton had a three-hour meeting with the alleged victim earlier this year where she told him of her alleged sexual abuse and four previous hypnotherapy sessions with another hypnotist, David Taylor.

He told the jury that the victim said she was in a light hypnosis to target binge eating and weight loss and was not in "any way concentrating or focused on anything for sexual abuse".

Under cross examination, Dr Middleton agreed with Mr Hoare that hypnosis could affect memory, but only if done a certain way.

"It can effect memory if it is used in a way that is not commonly appropriate," he said.

"Most use of hypnosis is not like in the movies where people are using some devoid suggestion to uncover some amazing hidden memory.

"It can (effect memories) if one was using a regressive form of hypnotherapy if one was trying to alter memories."

Mr Hoare suggested there was a "discrepancy" with the time frame of the alleged sexual abuse after the woman told Mr Middleton she was abused for "over a year".

Pardon is charged with committing the offences over a four-month period in the 1990s.

"You can make a lot, or not much of it … if there is a discrepancy, I don't think hypnosis is the explanation," Mr Middleton said.

Mr Hoare also suggested there was no way to know whether a memory had been altered if the woman's memories were not checked before or after the procedure.

"No, I can't accept that," Dr Middleton said.

"I do not accept someone that was having mild relaxation therapy would suffer some contamination of their memory."

In their final submission of the day, Mr Hoare told the jury Pardon would take the witness box on Monday to give and call on evidence.

The defence will open their case when the trial resumes next week.

Frank Pardon leaves Maroochydore Court.
Frank Pardon leaves Maroochydore Court.