Partygoer claims sex consensual, not rape

By Katie Holland -
Vincent Murray Smith's lawyer, Louis Te Kani, said his client "vehemently" denied the charge against him. Photo / File
Vincent Murray Smith's lawyer, Louis Te Kani, said his client "vehemently" denied the charge against him. Photo / File

A man has denied raping a woman near a Rotorua skate park, claiming the sex was consensual.

Vincent Murray Smith, 27, appeared in the Rotorua District Court yesterday to stand trial on a charge of raping the young woman after a party in October 2006.

Judge Russell Callander told the jury this was a retrial, saying that was not uncommon and the reasons for it were irrelevant.

In his opening address, Rotorua Crown prosecutor Chris Macklin said the alleged rape happened after Smith and the complainant met at a party.

It was accepted by the pair they had sexual intercourse outside near the skate park and the Caltex service station on Ranolf St. However the issue was whether the woman had consented, he said.

Mr Macklin said there were no eye witnesses to the encounter, nor CCTV footage, therefore it would be a simple case of who the jury believed.

He said the woman's evidence would show she struggled, cried out and tried to get away and that Smith ripped her pants from her body. He said she was found in a distressed state afterwards by people who called police.

Smith's lawyer, Louis Te Kani, said his client "vehemently" denied the charge against him.

"It's not rape, it was consensual sex," he said.

Mr Te Kani said two people had given statements they believed the pair were going to "hook up" on the evening in question.

He said Smith would not take the stand as he had already been interviewed twice by police and a DVD of his statement would instead be played to the jury.

The trial is expected to finish today.

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