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Defendant tells court he was ‘baffled’ by woman’s sex assault claims

A man accused of sexually assaulting a female friend took the stand in the Supreme Court yesterday insisting the two had consensual intercourse — and denying the alleged victim had been heavily intoxicated when it happened.

Neither party in the case, both of whom are 22, can be identified for legal reasons.

Earlier this week, the woman testified that she had been intoxicated enough to black out on the night of November 2, 2019 when the defendant, a friend since high school, took her from a Hallowe’en bash to a party at Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club.

She maintained that she was shocked on learning the next day that they had sex after the party, and said that the defendant had taken advantage of her.

Questioned yesterday by his lawyer, Elizabeth Christopher, the defendant said the woman had become flirtatious with him at the earlier party in Hamilton, later telling him she “wanted some” before they had sex twice, using condoms, in Admiralty House Park.

He said he then drove her home.

The man said he had been “baffled” the next day, in an exchange via the messaging app Snapchat, when she said she did not remember getting home.

“She was trying to say that I took advantage of her, that she was drunk, that I knew she was drunk and I didn’t take her right home.”

He said it had been “a good night” and he was “shocked and kind of irritated” at the exchange.

“I did not perceive her to be drunk,” he added. “That’s why I was kind of baffled.”

But he admitted under cross-examination by Crown Counsel Shaunté Simons-Fox that in their previous years as friends the woman had never openly flirted with him.

Ms Simons-Fox said: “Being that you had a girl, and this friend of yours is speaking sexy for the first time, didn’t that strike you as out of character?”

He answered: “Not really.”

But he said on the night in question: “I thought she liked me — she was into me that night.”

He said she had been leaning affectionately on him at the Hallowe’en party and holding his arm — and that he “didn’t smell alcohol” when she placed her head on his shoulder.

Acting Puisne Judge Mark Pettingill also heard that the two had smoked cannabis together at Bailey’s Bay and again at Admiralty House.

The defendant told the court the woman had driven him to the park from Bailey’s Bay on his mother’s bike because he did not have a driver’s licence and was afraid he would caught by police at that late hour.

But he said that he had driven her to her home after the two had sex at Admiralty House — and that she seemed “hysterical” as they neared her residence, crying and swearing, although she gave him a kiss before he left for home.

The defendant said he had subsequently been warned by his cousin that “some guys are looking for you — they say you raped their sister”.

He added that her two brothers were waiting for him when they got home again.

“I felt the aggression when they approached me,” he said.

One asked him “what happened with his sister”.

“Basically, I told him everything, and that was that,” the defendant said.

“I didn’t get explicit. It’s his sister. It’s a male thing to show respect. I’m sure he got the picture.” He said the brothers then left.

Ms Christopher asked him: “Did you at any point say anything that suggested she was not able to give consent?”

He answered: “No, I did not.”

The trial continues.

• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.