17 Mar 2020

Police rape trial: Crown says officer 'didn't take no for answer'

6:11 pm on 17 March 2020

The Crown says a police officer accused of raping his colleague lied to his boss, washed himself and destroyed evidence to cover up the crime.

18072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Wellington High Court.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The man, whose identity remains secret on appeal, is on trial in the Auckland District Court after pleading not guilty to indecent assault and sexual violation.

The man is accused of groping a female colleague during a boozy night with colleagues and later raping her as she slept in a Kerikeri motel.

In her closing remarks this morning, Crown prosecutor Fiona Culliney told the jury that the defendant "helped himself" to the woman and then tried to cover his tracks.

"He indecently assaulted the woman earlier in the night. He pushed her, shoved his hands into her shorts and he didn't take no for an answer.

"When she was asleep, when he knew the coast was clear, with a sense of entitlement he quite clearly has he crept into her room and he raped her."

Culliney said the female officer had been an "exceptional witness" in contrast to the defendant who had destroyed evidence and lied to his boss.

The court has heard the man told his roommate he was having sex with the woman when she became upset and said she couldn't do it anymore.

In contrast, the defendant's boss said the man told him the woman became upset after he'd simply shaken her awake and nothing else had happened.

Culliney said a brief recording the complainant made moments after the alleged rape was "absolutely devastating" to the man's case.

In the clip you can hear the woman saying "I denied you earlier and I've woken up to you ******* me" and the man replying "what do you want me to do".

"Wouldn't your first reaction to the suggestion you've just raped somebody be to say, 'what are you talking about, this is crazy, this was consensual, you invited me in here, what's going on here, you told me to come over'," Culliney said.

"And yet she's told us he never said anything of the sort. He was manipulating her, putting it back on her, making it her problem and her decision."

Culliney said on top of lying about what happened he'd also deleted Snapchat from his phone, making two unread messages he'd sent the woman that night void.

She told the jury it was the Crown's case the man had also cleaned himself, as evidenced by a wet flannel in his bathroom and an unusual absence of DNA on his genitals.

The defence has argued the complainant was not a rape victim but rather a woman who regretted cheating on her partner and lied to cover it up.

In closing remarks this afternoon, the man's lawyer Paul Borich QC told the jury the Crown had appealed to emotions they now had to discard as judges of the facts in a criminal trial.

He said it was the defence's case his client and the woman cuddled and kissed that night before the woman "got the guilts" and began to build a case against him.

"What the defence says is this 'I was asleep' is a fiction. It's created, like a lot of things in this case, by the complainant not to face up to what actually occurred that night," he said.

Borich said CCTV cameras showed the man was in the woman's room for roughly 20 minutes before he re-emerged that night.

He said there was no way the jury could know what was said before the woman pressed record on her phone but the footage showed the pair had flirted all night.

The jury has watched CCTV clips that show the pair playfully interacting with one another during a boozy night with colleagues at the motel.

The officers play drinking games with a hollowed-out police baton, strip off their clothes and a sergeant twice exposes himself to the group, who laugh hysterically.

The lawyer said both the accused and complainant had both lied about what happened that night and while his client had cheated, he wasn't a criminal.

"You might think a lot of people have let themselves down as a result of this incident. Clearly, the defendant has let himself and his loved ones down.

"I suggest the complainant has also done similar. I made it clear to her whilst she was in the witness box that she did but she just can't face up to that."

Borich asked the jury to consider if his client had had a fair go; suggesting some police witnesses did not tell the truth during the trial.

Judge Evangelos Thomas declined the man's application for continued name suppression but his identity remains secret on appeal.

He will sum up the case tomorrow morning before the jury of six women and six men retire to deliberate.