27 Nov 2020

Man who raped woman in Auckland motel jailed

12:33 pm on 27 November 2020

A man who raped a woman in an Auckland motel has been jailed for three and a half years.

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Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye/ 123rf

The man, who has interim name suppression, was found guilty of rape after a judge-alone trial in the High Court at Auckland earlier this month.

He raped the woman in an Epsom motel in early 2018, after meeting her on a date at the Viaduct.

The pair visited three bars and restaurants, chatting and at times kissing one another.

This continued in a motel room, but when the man tried to take things further, the woman said 'no' and he raped her.

She cried giving evidence at his trial earlier this month, telling the court her mind would not let her recall details of the assault she had immediately suppressed.

In a victim impact statement, read by court support counsellor Yvonne Urry, the woman said the sexual assault had affected her in many ways.

"At first, I tried to block everything out as though nothing had happened. I thought that if I didn't think about it then I was protecting myself."

But the woman said she could not escape it - she saw the the man's face when she closed her eyes, began to push her partner away, and grew paranoid the man was following her.

"I don't think you realise the impact that you had on me that night and until I went to the police station I don't think I did either. I was terrified of telling my story and the unknown of what would come from it.

"I assumed I would go in once and move on with my life with the feeling that I had lifted a weight off my shoulders. Instead, for the next two years, my life was consumed by what you did to me."

The woman said it had been hard to ask for help and admit she was struggling with her emotions, mostly because she initially blamed herself for what happened.

"I am lucky to have the support and positivity of my family, friends, the police and Help [a sexual violence support service] with whom I have begun to overcome these thoughts and I continue to go to counselling today.

"I don't want your sympathy but I want you to know this hasn't been an easy road for me. It wasn't as easy as walking into the station, telling my story and walking away. It has taken a lot of time, strength, tears and outside support to get to where I am today and to speak about how what you did to me is not okay."

The man continues to deny raping the woman. His lawyer, Tiffany Cooper, argued the night was an otherwise uneventful hook up that neither party wanted to repeat.

After being found guilty, the man lashed out at Justice Venning, raising his voice to say, "You're so full of shit mate. You have no reason to convict me. You're full of shit."

At sentencing today, the judge said it clear the man did not accept the offending and had no insight into or remorse for his crime.

Ms Cooper has confirmed she has instructions to appeal the conviction and prison sentence.

At the end of her victim impact statement, the woman said she was not the same person any more, but could now walk away from the assault knowing the man did not have any power over her.

"When I began this process with the police, I was told by many people that I would feel a sense of relief by telling my story in court but for me, I am yet to feel that weight being lifted. I don't know if I ever will but I walk away from this feeling as though I have done the right thing for myself.

"I am now a different person than I was two years ago. I am not scared. I am strong. I am not alone. I am loved. I am not held back. I am supported. I have so much to look forward to in my life and I will not look back. I will never say your name. You don't have any power over me anymore."