Man accused of rape says allegations on social media 'blindsided' him

8:59 pm on 19 October 2022
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(File photo) Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

A man accused of rape told Wellington District Court today he was "blindsided" when allegations of sexual abuse were posted on social media.

The 25-year-old, who has name suppression, is facing several sexual offences against six women, and has denied all charges.

Under questioning by his lawyer Sam Campbell, the defendant said he received "thousands" of abusive and threatening messages following the online allegations, which happened before any formal charges were made.

He said none of the messages were from complainants in this trial, nor had anyone - including them - ever accused him of sexual abuse.

He became upset when his lawyer asked him how the messages made him feel.

The defendant said he called police about them and was told several times to make an online report - but he wanted it dealt with more urgently.

"I guess I was hoping for different response to just a form online."

The defendant told the court that welfare officers were sent to his house because his address was posted on social media.

He said he and his flatmates moved the day after the allegations were posted, and the same day the flat was vandalised inside with "slurs" like "rapist" spray-painted on the walls.

Defendant said complainants weren't telling the truth

During cross-examination, Crown lawyer Kate Feltham put each complainant's allegations to him, which he again denied.

He said the four alleged rapes were consensual sex, and the indecent and sexual assaults were not him.

Feltham asked whether the defendant thought each complainant was lying.

"What I'm saying to you is that one of you has to be right about what happened that night, and one of you has to be wrong," Feltham said when the defendant agreed he and the first complainant had different stories.

"So who's right and who's wrong?"

"I'm right," the defendant said.

"So [the complainant's] lying?"

"What she's saying is not true... Far from the truth."

There were key details of complainants' testimonies that the defendant disagreed with - including that he was physically aggressive with them.

Another example included a message exchange with a complainant, in which the defendant asked one complainant whether they would have a "sleepover", or whether she would have another man in their friend group with her.

She replied, "both of you".

Last week, the complainant testified that meant they could both stay over, not have sex.

But the defendant today said it meant she would have sex with them both, and they had talked about that earlier that evening.

The woman previously said she fell asleep next to the other man after consensual sex with him, but woke up the next morning to find herself on top of the accused.

The defendant said that he joined the pair in the bed, and he and the complainant mutually began kissing - at which point the other man left the room, and they went on to have consensual sex.

The defendant also denied an accusation that he snuck into another complainant's room while she slept, instead saying she had invited him in to stay in her bed.

Crown questions defendant's sharp memory

Several times, Feltham asked how the defendant could remember so much of each incident, if they were what he said - normal sex.

"I suggest to you that there's just no way that you can remember the degree of detail for again another fairly unexceptional sexual encounter, would you agree with that?" asked Feltham.

"No, that's far from the truth," the defendant replied.

The complainant said he remembered all his sexual encounters.

"I remember a lot of stuff.

"Normal or not normal, important or not important."

The defence has questioned complainants' memories throughout the trial.

Complainants and witnesses have said they struggled to remember things because the alleged incidents were years ago and involved alcohol and drugs.

Tomorrow, the court will hear the remainder of the Crown's cross-examination of the defendant, and closing arguments from both sides.