3 Dec 2014

New Plymouth teens acquitted of rape

7:41 pm on 3 December 2014

Two teens accused of raping a 17-year-old girl have been found not guilty.

The teens, now aged 19, were 18-year-old New Plymouth High School students when their drunken sexual encounter with the girl was filmed and uploaded to Facebook.

They were found not guilty of six rape, unlawful sexual connection and indecent assault charges. However, one was found guilty of a seventh charge of making an intimate recording.

The teen's lawyer, Susan Hughes, QC, immediately applied for a discharge without conviction and that will be heard on 19 December.

A third teen had already pleaded guilty to filming the encounter on his cellphone.

Before the nine-woman, three-man jury retired, Justice Collins told jurors the nature of consent would play a vital role in their deliberations. The jury is considering its verdict.

"Consent is a significant issue in this case. Consent means true consent freely given by a person who is in a position to make a conscious decision," Justice Collins said.

The defence successfully argued the sexual activity was consensual, while the Crown said the woman was not capable of consenting to sex because she was too drunk.

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