A man sobbed uncontrollably in the dock after he was found guilty of unlawfully detaining a Christchurch prostitute for sex and raping and sexually violating her.
The jury today returned five guilty verdicts against Rufus Joseph, 21, after retiring for three hours at the end of a three-day trial before Christchurch District Court Judge John McDonald.
The judge declined to read a first-strike warning, which imposes heavier sentences on repeat violent and sexual offenders, because Joseph was so upset.
Instead, that will be done at his sentencing on October 30, for which a pre-sentence report and a victim-impact statement have been ordered.
Judge McDonald declined to order the necessary report for a home-detention sentence.
The jury found Joseph guilty of detaining the woman and forcing her to have sex for 30 to 45 minutes in a shed near Mona Vale.
Joseph said in evidence that his family in India had not been told he was on trial. A group of Indian men was in court to support him.
Judge McDonald has remanded him in custody.
In his summing-up, the judge told the jury it must set aside feelings of sympathy and prejudice in considering its verdicts.
He said it must also ignore any publicity or comments about the trial.
Joseph, a telecommunications sales representative, pleaded not guilty to charges of detaining the woman with intent to have sex, two charges of sexual violation by oral sex and two charges of rape.
Judge McDonald delivered his summing-up from 2pm and the jury retired to consider its verdicts at 2.45pm.
He said the jury could take into account that Joseph was an Indian for whom English was a second language. He had given evidence in the trial and the jury also watched a recording of his police interview.
He said the jury's knowledge and experience of life were its most valuable resources and it should use them.
"You must not decide the case on the basis of sympathy or prejudice. I suspect, sadly, that many jury trials are resolved on that basis," he said.
Both counsel - Deidre Orchard for the Crown and Tony Garrett for Joseph - had recognised the possibility of prejudice.
The complainant was a prostitute at the time, and a drug addict.
"These are hardly endearing features. They are likely to give rise to feelings of strong prejudice against her,'' the judge said.
"There may be similar feelings of prejudice against the accused because he is clearly someone who seeks the services of prostitutes. He was stopped in his car, with another prostitute in the car, only two days after this incident."
Prostitution was relevant in a general sense because it was how the woman and Joseph came to be together that night.
"Beyond that, the fundamental issues don't change. The complainant was entitled like anybody else to say 'no' to any sexual activity, and that really is the important feature," he said.
The jurors may find they had sympathy or prejudice for the complainant. By all accounts life had improved for her since the incident in March. She had dealt with her drug addiction and was no longer a prostitute.
They may feel sympathy for the accused because he was a young man in a foreign country and had no prior criminal convictions.
In her closing address, Orchard said Joseph had to know that the woman was not consenting.
He had taken her to a dark and isolated garden area, taken her cellphone away and threatened her.
"He has got her compliance by terrifying her," she said.
Garrett said Joseph had clearly not had any criminal intent in mind when he approached the woman in Manchester St.
He had told her his first name, and he had driven his own car.
The defence was that the incident was a dispute over money between an Indian man and a prostitute who was a drug addict.
He said she had not taken opportunities to leave or get help.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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