Police officer found guilty of raping female colleague

Police officer found guilty of raping female colleague
Photo credit: RNZ

The 29-year-old police officer accused of groping his female colleague and later raping her in a Kerikeri motel as she slept has been found guilty.

The man, who cannot be named, has been on trial in the Auckland District Court facing indecent assault and sexual violation charges after pleading not guilty.

In summing up the case this morning, Judge Evangelos Thomas told the jury it had to set aside sympathy and prejudice to consider its verdicts logically.

Over the past two and a half weeks the Crown has called a number of police officers, including the complainant, to relate what happened that night.

The woman told the jury she felt like "one of the boys" at the motel that night; skulling beer from a hollowed-out police baton and playing a stripping game.

She told the jury the man groped her in an attempt to come on to her in the early evening and, after she made it clear she wasn't interested, she later woke up in pain to him raping her.

Judge Thomas said while the officers had engaged in "stupid, ill-advised games" that night, the jury's job was to decide if the sexual conduct had occurred and if the complainant had consented to it.

What happened that night

The jury has heard four different versions of what happened that night from various police officers at the motel that night.

A constable sharing a room with the defendant said the man woke him up that night and told him he had been having sex with the woman when she became upset and couldn't do it anymore.

This constable told the jury he went to the woman's room and she told him she had been sleeping when she woke up to the man having sex with her.

The jury heard this police officer's initial statement was that the woman told him she woke up to the defendant on top of her.

He then changed his story after being told anything he said could be used in an employment investigation into his own behaviour that night.

The defendant maintains he cuddled and kissed the complainant in a consensual encounter until she felt guilty about cheating on her partner.

His boss, a sergeant, told the jury the defendant told him nothing happened between the pair and he had simply shaken her awake that night before she grew upset.

CCTV footage

The group of police officers were filmed drinking and socialising at the Kerikeri motel that night.

The defendant and complainant playfully interacted with one another at the start of the night, at one point walking through the courtyard arm in arm.

The Crown argued the woman's body language grew reserved after the alleged indecent assault as she sat in the group with her knees pulled up to her chest.

However, when she emerged from his room moments earlier she lingered in the courtyard until he caught up and gave her a beer.

The footage showed the man walking across the courtyard roughly 25 minutes after the woman retired to her motel unit for the night.

He checks the door and, when he finds it unlocked, lets himself into the room and closes the door behind him; emerging roughly 20 minutes later.

The defence argued the fact the woman left the door unlocked meant she was expecting company but the complainant said she didn't bother locking it because she the motel complex was full of police officers.

The recording

The complainant recorded two minutes of a conversation she had with the defendant moments after the alleged rape.

In the clip the woman could be heard saying "I denied you earlier and I've woken up to you ******* me" and the man replying "what do you want me to do".

Crown prosecutor Fiona Culliney said the recording was "absolutely devastating" to the man's case. His defence argued there was no way the jury could know what was said before the woman pressed record.

The complainant made another recording which archived conversations with other colleagues that night and made rudimentary notes on her phone which match what she told the jury in court.

She had two unread Snapchat messages from the man that night but they were never seen because the man uninstalled the application on his phone that morning.

It is the Crown's case the man also cleaned his genitals with a wet flannel found in his bathroom; forensic swabbing having found an unusual absence of DNA.

The defence's case

The man maintains any sexual activity between the woman and his client that night was consensual and part of a prearranged hook up.

His lawyer, Paul Borich, told the jury the CCTV clips made it clear the pair had flirted all night and the woman had "got the guilts" that night before turning on his client.

"What the defence says is this 'I was asleep' is a fiction. It's created, like a lot of things in this case, by the complainant not to face up to what actually occurred that night," he said.

Borich said the man deleting Snapchat was probably the stupidest thing he had ever done but while he had clearly let himself and his family down, he was not a criminal.

"You might think a lot of people have let themselves down as a result of this incident. Clearly, the defendant has let himself and his loved ones down.

"I suggest the complainant has also done similar. I made it clear to her whilst she was in the witness box that she did but she just can't face up to that."