CQ man fights against rape conviction
A CENTRAL Queensland man both convicted and acquitted of raping his former housemate has argued the guilty verdict was "unreasonable".
But Queensland Appeals Court President Walter Sofronoff said "differing verdicts in trials of multiple counts are to be expected" in a recent judgment.
The incident occurred in November 2016.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had asked the woman to join him and another friend at his friend's house and offered to pay for the taxi.
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When she arrived, he suggested she have a shower when she said she was cold and undressed her.
After the shower she alleged he took her to a bedroom and tried to force his penis in her mouth.
And she said he later digitally raped her while the three were laying in bed at her house after the two men had walked her home.
A lawyer for the man claimed the woman had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana that night, she was mixing medication and alcohol, having mood swings, had actually initiated sexual conduct by exposing her breasts and had raised the question of sexual intercourse by asking, "Is this really happening?".
The lawyer also argued there were several "remarkable" inconsistencies in her evidence.
In November last year an Emerald District Court jury found the man not guilty of this first allegation, guilty of the digital rape and not guilty of a second allegation of digital rape.
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He has argued the jury's guilty verdict on count two "was unreasonable" given the acquittals on counts one and three.
The man has appealed the result on two grounds - the guilty verdict was "irrationally inconsistent" with the two not guilty verdicts, and the trial judge erred in a particular direction to the jury.
"Juries are warned about the dangers of mere propensity reasoning and they take those warnings seriously so that it is common, in cases of multi-count indictments of sex offences in particular, for there to be some verdicts of guilty and some acquittals," Justice Sofronoff said in the judgment.
He added the man "failed to demonstrate" the different verdicts were irrational.
The issue in relation to the first digital rape was consent and Justice Sofronoff said a jury was "entitled to accept (the woman's) evidence that she had voiced her opposition to having sexual relations" with the man.
"I would reject the submission that the guilty verdict was unreasonable," Justice Sofronoff said.
The man's lawyer also argued the trial judge erred in failing to direct the jury to "scrutinise the evidence of (a witness) with care … or … with great care".
However Justice Sofronoff said the trial judge told the jury to consider the woman's evidence with care and then gave a summary of the issues with the evidence.
"The submission that his honour failed adequately to direct the jury about the problems in the complainant's evidence cannot be accepted," Justice Sofronoff said.
The appeal was dismissed.