Local man cleared of rape charges

TEARS streamed down the face of a 26-year-old man in the Hervey Bay District Court yesterday after a jury found him not guilty of raping his girlfriend’s younger sister.

The man was charged with rape after the 17-year-old girl accused him of attacking her while she slept in a tent during a camping trip on Round Island.

During the three-day trial a number of witnesses were called including the friends who were on the trip, the arresting police officer, the doctor who examined the complainant after the alleged rape and a forensic scientist.

The court heard that the adults on the trip had smoked marijuana regularly while on the island.

The Crown’s case relied heavily upon the evidence provided by the scientist who confirmed that DNA taken from samples from the alleged victim matched the profile of the defendant and also the complainant’s testimony that she had woken to find the accused penetrating her.

But the defendant maintained the pair had consensual sex.

He said the victim had “liked him” and that it was the second occasion the pair had sexual contact.

While many of the witnesses described the alleged victim as being emotional after the event, the defendant said she was “cut” because he had stopped.

In summing up Judge Douglas J McGill advised the jury that they could only find the man guilty if the were satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged victim was asleep when penetration occurred.

The jury reached a verdict within the hour.

The defendant’s partner, the complainant’s older sister, was in court to support him.

When the words “not guilty” were read out, both burst into tears.



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