Wellington rape trial: Accused says he was invited into bedroom

8:05 pm on 11 October 2022
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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The lawyer for a Wellington man on trial for rape says sex between the defendant and a complainant was consensual.

The 25-year-old man, who has name suppression, faces eight charges, including sexual violation and indecent assault against six young women.

The woman denies asking the defendant to come into her room, and the Crown asserted the defendant took advantage of sleeping or drunk women.

At the Wellington District Court this morning, lawyer for the accused Val Nisbet cross-examined the first complainant.

The incident happened after her combined birthday party at another address.

The complainant said her mother had taken her home because she was drunk, and that others, including the defendant, arrived later to sleep in the lounge.

The Crown said the man initially did that but later went into her room and raped her.

In cross-examination the complainant was unable to recall some details.

Nisbet asked whether she partied often, and how much she had been drinking that night.

The complainant said she was drunk.

"So is it pretty hard to remember everything?" he asked.

"Yeah, it was years ago," she replied.

"Do you have issues with your memory?"

"I have issues with that night," she replied.

"And that you would say that that was because you were affected by alcohol?"

"No," she replied, "because I had traumatic event happen that night".

Nisbet said his client recalled she was not slurring, stumbling or falling over at the party, and he did not think the complainant was badly affected by alcohol.

Defence says complainant invited defendant into bedroom

The defence said the complainant and defendant had flirted with each other at the party, which she denied.

She said she met him at the party, and spoke to him because it was her party and she wanted to find out who he was.

Nisbet said, later that night at her house, she invited him into her bedroom.

"You mentioned to him that he could sleep in your bedroom, you whispered it to him. And that you said something like 'let's go', and he followed you into your bedroom."

The complainant denied that happened, and said she was asleep alone in her bed and woke to the defendant raping her.

Complainant wanted to believe defendant was a good person

After the first incident the complainant and defendant messaged on social media.

The two had sex again a few weeks later, and the complainant told the court it was consensual.

Nisbet said the complainant wanted a romantic relationship with the accused and initiated most of the contact on social media.

"So here we have someone who you'd had sexual relationships with who you were clearly attracted to, am I right?

"You accept you'd messaged him and wanted contact with him."

But the complainant said she kept in contact with the defendant because, although she says she was raped, she did not want to accept that is what happened.

She wanted to make herself believe the man was a good person.

Witnesses and complainants' memories hazy

Under questioning, witnesses and the complainant, including her mother, were unable to recall some details of the evening, including whether she drove her daughter home.

The complainant said her mother had taken her home because she was drunk, but her mother could not definitively say.

The mother said her daughter seemed seemed worse for wear the next day and upset "at times" afterwards.

She said her daughter did not confide in her then, but told her years later she had been raped, and that she was tearful and upset recounting what happened.

The complainant said she told police she had been raped after allegations about the accused surfaced on social media three years later.

She said she always knew she was raped in their first encounter but did not have the confidence to tell the police at the time.

It was the second day of trial, which is expected to last until at least next Tuesday.