‘Unreliable’ defence in matress rape case

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Lawyers of a Blue Mountains schoolboy who raped a teenage girl during a “humiliating” two-hour ordeal at a Halloween party argued his conviction was “grossly improbable” and the victim’s evidence should not be relied on.

The man, who cannot be legally identified, was in August sentenced in the Parramatta Children’s Court to at least two months behind bars over the 2019 attack at a house party that occurred while he and his victim were both students at a Blue Mountains school.

He was led away by Corrective Services officers after magistrate Louise McManus sentenced him to spend a maximum of nine months in a youth detention centre.

But he walked from the courthouse later that same afternoon after he was granted bail pending an appeal against his conviction.

The appeal came before judge Huw Baker on Wednesday at Parramatta District Court, where the man’s barrister Anthony Bellanto KC told the court that Ms McManus’s ruling was “grossly improbable”.

The man, who was sentenced to a maximum of nine months in jail, was released on bail later that same day. Picture: Channel 9The man, who was sentenced to a maximum of nine months in jail, was released on bail later that same day. Picture: Channel 9

The man pleaded not guilty, but following a trial earlier this year, he was found guilty of six charges of sexual assault and one count of choking without consent.

He was found not guilty of a further two charges of sexual assault, common assault and choking causing loss of consciousness.

The trial was told the then teenage girl was affected by alcohol and consented to some sexual acts; however, she did not consent to others.

During sentencing, Ms McManus described the sexual assaults as “humiliating” and showing “little regard for her as a person”.

Mr Bellanto detailed the relationship between the former students and said the girl did not like the boy prior to the assault.

“There’s an evolving warmth between them when one looks at a number of significant events at the party from when he arrived at 8.30pm,” Mr Bellanto told the court.

The court was told the girl “disliked him immensely” and was trying to avoid him when at the party.

The pair then had a smoke together on the back deck while chatting.

Mr Bellanto told the court the pair watched television together later in the night and engaged in conversation, but the girl said she had “gaps in her memory”.

She decided to stay the night and placed a mattress on the loungeroom floor.

“Is it all good if I sleep on this mattress as well?” the boy said, according to Mr Bellanto.

The girl said yes but told him she needed to get a “good night sleep”, as she had to work the following morning.

The man faced a hearing for the appeal on his conviction on Wednesday at Parramatta District Court.The man faced a hearing for the appeal on his conviction on Wednesday at Parramatta District Court.

Moments later the boy began kissing her, which she consented to, before she was raped over the course two hours.

The court was told the girl said “stop, that really hurts” up to three times throughout the ordeal.

Both the boy and his victim were 16 at the time.

Mr Bellanto told the court the girl did not immediately tell her friends what had happened and appeared to not go into detail, telling them she “couldn’t recall” what happened due to being so drunk.

“She agreed it wasn’t true but was a ruse or some explanation to avoid blame particularly for having slept with a young man to whom she professed dislike,” Mr Bellanto said.

He said this was evidence that she wanted to “give a false impression” and damaged the girl’s “reliability and credit”.

“She didn’t attend much school because she knew the gossip around the school was that she hated the appellant, didn’t want anything to do with him, but at the same time she, we say, had a sexual encounter with him at the Halloween party,” Mr Bellanto said.

“Is she going to lose face or is she going to say ‘yes I did but it wasn’t my fault, I was too drunk to remember what happened and I was taken advantage of’.”

Me Bellanto told the court his client also asked the girl “if this is OK”, which he said was “hardly consistent” with an intention to have sexual intercourse without consent.

He told the court the girl was “conniving” in fabricating a story that detracted from her reliability.

A Crown prosecutor told the court the woman made “numerous and significant concessions” during her evidence at the trial.

The court was told the woman was “often reluctant” to talk about what happened to her.

She said the Children’s Court magistrate had made comments about the man’s demeanour while giving evidence at trial and found aspects of his evidence to be “illogical”.

“His version of every aspect of the sexual encounter was instigated by the complainant and he asked for consent,” the prosecutor said.

“He was at all times confident, unshaken and pleasant, but he stammered when he gave the answer he was being very cautious about consent.”

She said the man tried to paint himself in a “sympathetic and more positive” light.

The court was also previously told that the man had shown no contrition or remorse.

Judge Baker will give the judgment on the conviction appeal in 2023.

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