4 Sep 2015

Custody officer acquitted of rape

3:30 pm on 4 September 2015

An Auckland police custody officer has been acquitted by a jury of raping a woman he met on the dating website, Zoosk.

Shane Brian Clayden, who is 39, pleaded not guilty to rape and unlawful sexual connection with a 34-year-old woman he met on the dating website Zoosk in June 2013.

He is also a volunteer fire fighter and a former Site Prosecutor at Auckland Prison.

The jury returned the verdicts after three and a half hours of deliberating a short while ago.

As each "not guilty" rang out, there were tears and huge gasps of relief from family members sitting in the public gallery.

As soon as Judge Thomas said he was free to go, a family member yelled out to Mr Clayden, "Let's get out of here," and rushed him out of the courtroom.

In his summing up, the judge told the jurors it was up to them to decide whose story they believed to be true.

He also pointed out how Mr Clayden in his police interview did not seem sure about whether he'd made it clear over text messages prior to meeting up, that the plan was for the woman to stay over.

Crown prosecutor Luke Clancy argued Mr Clayden picked her up with no money and no intention of taking her out for dinner.

He said Mr Clayden showed off cast-off police uniforms he had, before raping her and dropping her at a petrol station on a winter's night, 50 kilometres from where she lived.

The defence said that the woman chose to get in his car, did not put up a struggle or try to leave and then consented to sex.

Mr Clayden did not wish to make a comment outside court, but told his lawyers he was relieved.