Intent to rape denied

Accused says he thought they were role playing

Accused says he thought they were role playing

A man accused of assaulting his former partner with intent to rape her, says he thought she was feigning her objection and that they were role playing.

The accused, who is in his 40s, cannot not be named due to law protecting the complainant’s identity.

He went on trial in Gisborne District Court yesterday, pleading not guilty to the offence and to an alternative charge of indecent assault.

The accused does not deny there was an incident in 2017 but said he misunderstood the woman’s objection to his advance. He did not realise it was truly unwanted until she partially tore off his adhesively-applied hair piece after which he stopped.

He claims the complainant is exaggerating what occurred; playing it up to further her own agendas.

The complainant says the man struggled to accept her decision to end the relationship and confuses his sexual fantasies for reality.

Each of the charges qualifies as a three strikes offences.

In his opening address, Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker said the accused was guilty of the more serious charge.

The jury could be sure of that if it found an assault occurred, that the defendant intended some kind of sexual connection, that the complainant did not consent and that the defendant could not on reasonable grounds believe she was consenting.

In this case there was no dispute the accused grabbed and manhandled the woman across a room, or that the woman did not consent, Mr Walker said.

Jurors needed to decide the mindset of each of them at that time.

The woman had not encouraged the man and clearly objected, yelling and screaming at him and trying to push him away. She resorted to tearing off the man’s hair piece to make him stop.

She screamed at him to get out then ran crying and upset to a nearby relative’s house. The man sent her three messages afterward asking if she was OK, saying he was sorry, and making a lengthy apology “for today” as he put it.

She reported the matter to police that night but told them she did not want at that stage to make a formal complaint because it was emotionally too much given the couple’s recent separation and a business they still ran together.

She went ahead with the formal complaint process about eight months later.

Mr Walker said if jurors were unsure about charge one, they should at least find the accused guilty of charge two.

That lesser charge did not involve any element of sexual connection but related literally to what happened, Mr Walker said.

Jurors must be sure the accused assaulted the woman (an assault can be any degree of force), that it was indecent (he doubted that would be disputed), that the woman did not consent to it and that the accused did not believe she was consenting. (This charge does not involve belief on “reasonable grounds” of consent, as required by the more serious charge.)

In his opening statement for the defence, counsel Gene Tomlinson said his client’s only intention was for some kind of consensual sexual encounter. His advance was not intended to be indecent. He was trying to initiate that sexual encounter.

In this case context was everything, Mr Tomlinson said.

The couple had only separated about six weeks earlier from a long-term, highly-sexualised relationship. They maintained regular contact, including at least five sexual encounters (the complainant disputes this and says there was only one).

Due to that ongoing contact and the nature of their previous relationship, the accused reasonably believed she would agree to his advance. He initially thought, albeit wrongly, she was feigning her objection and that they were role playing — something they’d done previously (also denied by the complainant).

But ultimately, he was rejected, desisted and left when told.

The complainant was exaggerating what occurred, playing it up to further her own agendas, Mr Tomlinson said.

Her delayed formal complaint was telling. She waited until financial relationship matters between her and the man were settled to ensure she got what she wanted, and she sent the defendant messages threatening to do exactly that.

That tainted her account of what she alleged and impacted on her credibility, Mr Tomlinson said.

The trial is expected to finish today or tomorrow. Judge Warren Cathcart is presiding.

A man accused of assaulting his former partner with intent to rape her, says he thought she was feigning her objection and that they were role playing.

The accused, who is in his 40s, cannot not be named due to law protecting the complainant’s identity.

He went on trial in Gisborne District Court yesterday, pleading not guilty to the offence and to an alternative charge of indecent assault.

The accused does not deny there was an incident in 2017 but said he misunderstood the woman’s objection to his advance. He did not realise it was truly unwanted until she partially tore off his adhesively-applied hair piece after which he stopped.

He claims the complainant is exaggerating what occurred; playing it up to further her own agendas.

The complainant says the man struggled to accept her decision to end the relationship and confuses his sexual fantasies for reality.

Each of the charges qualifies as a three strikes offences.

In his opening address, Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker said the accused was guilty of the more serious charge.

The jury could be sure of that if it found an assault occurred, that the defendant intended some kind of sexual connection, that the complainant did not consent and that the defendant could not on reasonable grounds believe she was consenting.

In this case there was no dispute the accused grabbed and manhandled the woman across a room, or that the woman did not consent, Mr Walker said.

Jurors needed to decide the mindset of each of them at that time.

The woman had not encouraged the man and clearly objected, yelling and screaming at him and trying to push him away. She resorted to tearing off the man’s hair piece to make him stop.

She screamed at him to get out then ran crying and upset to a nearby relative’s house. The man sent her three messages afterward asking if she was OK, saying he was sorry, and making a lengthy apology “for today” as he put it.

She reported the matter to police that night but told them she did not want at that stage to make a formal complaint because it was emotionally too much given the couple’s recent separation and a business they still ran together.

She went ahead with the formal complaint process about eight months later.

Mr Walker said if jurors were unsure about charge one, they should at least find the accused guilty of charge two.

That lesser charge did not involve any element of sexual connection but related literally to what happened, Mr Walker said.

Jurors must be sure the accused assaulted the woman (an assault can be any degree of force), that it was indecent (he doubted that would be disputed), that the woman did not consent to it and that the accused did not believe she was consenting. (This charge does not involve belief on “reasonable grounds” of consent, as required by the more serious charge.)

In his opening statement for the defence, counsel Gene Tomlinson said his client’s only intention was for some kind of consensual sexual encounter. His advance was not intended to be indecent. He was trying to initiate that sexual encounter.

In this case context was everything, Mr Tomlinson said.

The couple had only separated about six weeks earlier from a long-term, highly-sexualised relationship. They maintained regular contact, including at least five sexual encounters (the complainant disputes this and says there was only one).

Due to that ongoing contact and the nature of their previous relationship, the accused reasonably believed she would agree to his advance. He initially thought, albeit wrongly, she was feigning her objection and that they were role playing — something they’d done previously (also denied by the complainant).

But ultimately, he was rejected, desisted and left when told.

The complainant was exaggerating what occurred, playing it up to further her own agendas, Mr Tomlinson said.

Her delayed formal complaint was telling. She waited until financial relationship matters between her and the man were settled to ensure she got what she wanted, and she sent the defendant messages threatening to do exactly that.

That tainted her account of what she alleged and impacted on her credibility, Mr Tomlinson said.

The trial is expected to finish today or tomorrow. Judge Warren Cathcart is presiding.

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