Defence points to rape case flaws

Inconsistencies in the evidence of a woman who claims she was regularly raped for three years as a child continued to be brought to the attention of a jury in the Blenheim District Court yesterday.

When defence lawyer Lester Cordwell continued cross-examining the complainant yesterday morning, he suggested she had lied about the accused raping her in order to help a third party get revenge on him.

The accused faces three charges of rape, one charge of inducing a girl under 12 to do an indecent act, one of inducing a girl under 16 to do an indecent act and one of stupefying.

The incidents were alleged to have happened between 1998 and 2001 in Blenheim.

However, Cordwell pointed to several differences between her initial statement to police, her formal written statement to police, and her evidence in court during the past few days.

The court was told that the complainant was asked in 2007 whether she had been sexually abused by the accused, to which she said she had not.

In April 2009, the complainant contacted police and said that sexual abuse had in fact taken place over a three-year period when she was aged between 10 and 13.

She told the court she had watched a film with a rape scene the week before contacting police, which she said brought back memories of the alleged offending.

She had been extremely drunk the night before telling the police, was upset, couldn't sleep and needed to do something to sort her life out, she told the court.

After making her initial statement in April 2009, she then told police she did not want to pursue the matter, before changing her mind again in December that year.

Cordwell suggested that she kept changing her mind about pursuing the matter because she knew what she had said was a lie, before succumbing to pressure by a third party to pursue it. She denied she was lying.

During re-examination by Crown prosecutor Mark O'Donoghue, the complainant said she changed her mind after making her initial statement because she had reached a calm point in her life.

She did not want to upset her mental state by pursuing the matter, the court heard.

The court also heard during cross-examination by Cordwell that the complainant told police in her initial interview she had been put on a contraceptive pill at the age of 13 because she did not want to get pregnant to her alleged rapist.

However, Cordwell pointed to her family planning records that stated she was first prescribed the birth control pill at the age of 15, two years after the alleged offending ceased.

The complainant said in court yesterday that the offending had stopped when she went on the pill, but she was worried it might happen again.

The trial was expected to last at least five days.

The Marlborough Express