A man who accused former Newcastle Anglican Dean Graeme Lawrence of sexually assaulting him when he was 15 in 1991 was an unreliable witness who lacked credibility, Mr Lawrence's defence counsel has submitted.
Defence barrister Paul Winch told Newcastle District Court on Tuesday that the complainant's evidence that the assault occurred in the Christ Church Cathedral Deanery following a youth service had been found wanting in several key areas.
"All these things impact on his credibility," Mr Winch said during his closing address.
"There is no one piece of evidence that destroys his credibility [but his uncertainty about details] chips away at his credibility."
Mr Winch said the fact that the Crown had sought to expand the period in which the alleged offence could have occurred, which was initially between Easter and December 1991, to January 30 and December following the complainant's evidence showed he was uncertain of the timing of the alleged offence.
Further, he argued that the complainant's recollection that the alleged assault had occurred on a Sunday night had been disproved by church documents that showed youth services were not held on Sunday evenings.
The Crown alleged that Mr Lawrence lured the complainant, who was helping to pack up equipment in the Cathedral, back to the Deanery under the premise that there were other youths there.
Upon arrival it is alleged Mr Lawrence took the complainant back to an office-sized room and invited him to view a series of pictures on the wall that showed naked boys.
He was then allegedly sexually assaulted.
Mr Lawrence has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and one of indecent assault.
Mr Winch argued the alleged events were implausible given evidence that showed Mr Lawrence and his partner moved out in April so that earthquake repairs could be done to the building.
"It was a place under renovation," he said.
"[The suggestion that there was a room] with pictures of naked boys on the walls seems so unlikely it defies belief."
In contrast to the Crown's submission that much of Mr Lawrence's evidence had been evasive and self-serving, Mr Winch described his client as responsive.
"True it is he resisted Crown attempts to get him to say yes or no. He didn't say yes or no if he felt a longer answer needed to be given," Mr Winch said.
"In the end Mr Lawrence has proven himself to be honest."
Judge Tim Gartelmann, SC, adjourned the case for judgement on July 26.