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'Dress barely covers your bottom': Rape trial victim faces gruelling questions from defence

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Aug 2023, 12:06pm
An unregistered Dunedin taxi driver, who currently has interim name suppression, is accused of indecent assault, kidnapping, rape and two charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. Photo / 123rf
An unregistered Dunedin taxi driver, who currently has interim name suppression, is accused of indecent assault, kidnapping, rape and two charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. Photo / 123rf

'Dress barely covers your bottom': Rape trial victim faces gruelling questions from defence

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Aug 2023, 12:06pm

WARNING: This story deals with sexual offending and may be distressing

A woman who says she was kidnapped and raped has faced gruelling cross-examination regarding the length of her dress and the amount of alcohol she consumed.

An unregistered Dunedin taxi driver, who currently has interim name suppression, is on trial in the Dunedin District Court, accused of indecent assault, kidnapping, rape and two charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

It is alleged a woman received a ride home from town with the defendant and once her friend got out, the man pulled into a grass verge and sexually violated her.

Anne Stevens KC said the woman had her legs open and was draping them across the dashboard, when her client instructed her to take them down - only touching her legs to remedy the “dangerous” behaviour.

The complainant admitted she had been drinking heavily on February 8, 2021, recounting all the alcoholic beverages she consumed, some via a beer bong.

“You also had tequila shots didn’t you? Which is throwing back straight alcohol isn’t it... throwing it down your throat?” Stevens said.

CCTV images were shown of the woman and her friend eating at McDonald’s, with Stevens asking if the woman would be exposed when she sat down.

 “The dress barely covers your bottom?... I’m not being critical and I’m not suggesting that anyone could see your bottom, I’m simply exploring.”

“It really wasn’t that short,” the complainant said.

Stevens suggested the woman did not have any cash on her at the time of the car ride.

“The fact is you didn’t pay for the fare at all did you?”

The woman, who said she was raped and strangled by the driver, was clearly upset.

“No. Why would I after that?”

CCTV footage from the Z petrol station was viewed by the jury.

The woman was clearly shown walking across the forecourt after escaping from the alleged assault.

A forecourt worker who helped her charge her phone testified: “She looked very, sort of, sheepish. She looked quite distressed.”

Stevens asked the man if the woman appeared drunk.

“No, definitely not,” the man said.

The footage showed the woman crouching on the ground in front of the counter, with her head in her hands.

“She said she was fine, didn’t she?” Stevens said.

“She said that. But personally, I didn’t believe it,” the man said.

The footage showed a $20 bill falling out of the woman’s bag when she handed her phone to the worker.

A friend of the woman also took the stand, showing he had six missed calls from the woman, beginning at 5.34am that day.

The pair spoke for 35 minutes before the woman’s phone battery died again as she began her walk home through Mosgiel.

The doctor who examined the woman 36 hours after the alleged assault noted the woman had complained of a sore neck.

Despite saying the man had gripped his fingers tightly around her throat, the medical examiner did not find any bruises in that area - which she said was not unusual.

The complainant had not caught a glimpse of her alleged rapist’s face and the description she gave of the man’s clothing did not match the accused’s.

The woman’s friend told the jury the woman had not wanted to involve police due to embarrassment.

The complainant elaborated: “Because of the whole process when something like this happens to you... I didn’t want to do it.”

The trial is set to continue today, with police witnesses expected to provide evidence.

SEXUAL HARM


Where to get help:
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email [email protected]
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it's not your fault.

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