Explicit details of sex life exposed in trial

A jury heard explicit details about a couple’s sex life during a trial for a man accused of indecently assaulting his former partner, which ended yesterday in Gisborne District Court.

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

At the start of the trial on Monday, he faced a principal charge of assault with intent to commit rape. But on Tuesday, to simplify the case, the Crown withdrew that charge in favour of its alternatively-laid one. (Both are three-strike offences but indecent assault carries a lesser maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.)

A jury of 10 is expected to deliver a verdict today. (Two jurors were discharged during the trial.)

The alleged offence relates to an incident in October, 2017, about six weeks after the complainant ended the couple’s long-term and at times long-distance relationship — one described as being “highly sexualised”.

When apart, the pair relied on electronic messaging. They exchanged 31,000 communications on Facebook Messenger alone. Many of the messages were sexually explicit and were referred to in evidence by both parties.

The complainant said after their break-up the couple tried to remain on friendly terms and continued to run a shared business but the accused struggled with the situation.

The woman pointed to “filthy” messages the accused continued to send expressing his sexual desires for her, including just ahead of this incident.

After arriving at her house, the accused allegedly made an unwanted sexual advance, persisting despite her protestations. He groped her, manhandled her across a room, pushed her down on to a bean bag, and only relinquished his grip when she tore off his adhesively-applied hairpiece, the woman said.

The accused, who elected to give evidence, said there were up to five sexual encounters between them after the break-up and that confused him. So did the woman’s non-committal response to his messages earlier that day.

He thought she wanted him to initiate sex but misread the situation, wrongly believing she was feigning her resistance and role playing —- something he said had become their “new norm”.

She exaggerated what happened. He had not groped but bear-hugged and waddled her across a room continually “talking dirty” to her and expecting her to suddenly take control and willingly participate.

When they tripped and fell, he noticed she was genuinely angry and stopped.

Closing the Crown case, prosecutor Clayton Walker said the sole issue for jurors was whether the accused honestly believed the woman was consenting to what otherwise amounted to indecent assault.

No matter how sexualised or energetic the relationship might once have been, the woman resisted that day — even on the accused’s own account she resisted, Mr Walker said.

Contrary to the accused’s claim, there was no evidence of past role-playing involving such resistance. He could not honestly have believed she was consenting.

The woman’s actions immediately after the incident supported her account. She ran to a nearby relative’s house in an inconsolable state. She reported the matter to police that night. She could not be criticised for waiting several months to formalise the complaint. Her explanation was understandable, Mr Walker said.

Counsel Gene Tomlinson said the accused made a mistake that day but realised he misread the situation, stopped immediately and apologised.

The complainant tried to sell the jury a lie from the outset by painting the accused as someone who sent filthy messages that shocked and disgusted her. But she too had sent equally lurid messages — only admitting it when presented with unexpected evidence of them.

Her decision to reignite the prosecution months later was a week after the accused transferred her sole title of their house. That should concern jurors. It was calculated and tainted everything she said. She could not be trusted.

Her denial of ongoing sexual encounters between them was questionable.

According to the accused, at least one of the incidents involved him being denigrated for being unable to perform sexually.

That was not a fantasy a man would invent, Mr Tomlinson said.

A jury heard explicit details about a couple’s sex life during a trial for a man accused of indecently assaulting his former partner, which ended yesterday in Gisborne District Court.

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

At the start of the trial on Monday, he faced a principal charge of assault with intent to commit rape. But on Tuesday, to simplify the case, the Crown withdrew that charge in favour of its alternatively-laid one. (Both are three-strike offences but indecent assault carries a lesser maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.)

A jury of 10 is expected to deliver a verdict today. (Two jurors were discharged during the trial.)

The alleged offence relates to an incident in October, 2017, about six weeks after the complainant ended the couple’s long-term and at times long-distance relationship — one described as being “highly sexualised”.

When apart, the pair relied on electronic messaging. They exchanged 31,000 communications on Facebook Messenger alone. Many of the messages were sexually explicit and were referred to in evidence by both parties.

The complainant said after their break-up the couple tried to remain on friendly terms and continued to run a shared business but the accused struggled with the situation.

The woman pointed to “filthy” messages the accused continued to send expressing his sexual desires for her, including just ahead of this incident.

After arriving at her house, the accused allegedly made an unwanted sexual advance, persisting despite her protestations. He groped her, manhandled her across a room, pushed her down on to a bean bag, and only relinquished his grip when she tore off his adhesively-applied hairpiece, the woman said.

The accused, who elected to give evidence, said there were up to five sexual encounters between them after the break-up and that confused him. So did the woman’s non-committal response to his messages earlier that day.

He thought she wanted him to initiate sex but misread the situation, wrongly believing she was feigning her resistance and role playing —- something he said had become their “new norm”.

She exaggerated what happened. He had not groped but bear-hugged and waddled her across a room continually “talking dirty” to her and expecting her to suddenly take control and willingly participate.

When they tripped and fell, he noticed she was genuinely angry and stopped.

Closing the Crown case, prosecutor Clayton Walker said the sole issue for jurors was whether the accused honestly believed the woman was consenting to what otherwise amounted to indecent assault.

No matter how sexualised or energetic the relationship might once have been, the woman resisted that day — even on the accused’s own account she resisted, Mr Walker said.

Contrary to the accused’s claim, there was no evidence of past role-playing involving such resistance. He could not honestly have believed she was consenting.

The woman’s actions immediately after the incident supported her account. She ran to a nearby relative’s house in an inconsolable state. She reported the matter to police that night. She could not be criticised for waiting several months to formalise the complaint. Her explanation was understandable, Mr Walker said.

Counsel Gene Tomlinson said the accused made a mistake that day but realised he misread the situation, stopped immediately and apologised.

The complainant tried to sell the jury a lie from the outset by painting the accused as someone who sent filthy messages that shocked and disgusted her. But she too had sent equally lurid messages — only admitting it when presented with unexpected evidence of them.

Her decision to reignite the prosecution months later was a week after the accused transferred her sole title of their house. That should concern jurors. It was calculated and tainted everything she said. She could not be trusted.

Her denial of ongoing sexual encounters between them was questionable.

According to the accused, at least one of the incidents involved him being denigrated for being unable to perform sexually.

That was not a fantasy a man would invent, Mr Tomlinson said.

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The accused was found not guilty by the jury, which delivered its verdict at 11am today.

Jurors deliberated for about two-and-a-half hours.

Judge Warren Cathcart thanked them for their service. He said it was a difficult case that needed to be decided by a jury, not a judge.

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