Soldier found not guilty of rape
An army private has been acquitted of raping a fellow soldier after a St Patrick’s Day binge.
A jury in the Palmerston North District Court today delivered a majority not-guilty verdict in the rape trial of Devon Dwayne Fraser, 21.
One of the 12 jurors did not agree with the decision.
The jury deliberated for about five hours after Judge Les Atkins summed up the case in the morning.
On March 18 last year, Mr Fraser and a female soldier were seen ‘‘making out and hooking up’’ in the High Flyers nightclub.
They returned to Linton where they had sex.
In his closing remarks to the jury, defence lawyer Fergus Steedman said it was consensual, but the Crown accused Mr Fraser of raping the female soldier, who, it said, did not give consent.
Mr Steedman said the complainant got herself caught up in a web of lies and it was her that should have been in court for making a false statement.
Crown prosecutor Esme Killeen said the complainant had been clear that she didn’t want to have sex with Mr Fraser.
‘‘A kiss is not a contract.’’
Judge Atkins reminded the jury that when a drunk person gave consent for intimacy, it still stood.
‘‘People sometimes do things when they are drunk that they would never do when sober,’’ the judge said.
‘‘You would have to be sure [Mr Fraser] did not have reasonable belief she was consenting if you found him guilty.’’