Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Victim 'woke with player on top of her'

Junior Sefo went on trial for rape in the Auckland District Court yesterday, more than a year after the alleged attack at College Rifles Rugby Football Club. Photo / Getty Images
Junior Sefo went on trial for rape in the Auckland District Court yesterday, more than a year after the alleged attack at College Rifles Rugby Football Club. Photo / Getty Images

A premier Auckland rugby player allegedly "crept" into a room at a Remuera sports club where a woman was sleeping and raped her, only stopping after she woke up and tried to fight him off.

Junior Sefo, 24, went on trial for rape in the Auckland District Court yesterday, more than a year after the alleged attack at College Rifles Rugby Football Club.

On the first day of the trial, expected to last a week, a jury of nine men and three women heard that on April 19 last year Sefo was drinking at the College Rifles clubrooms with teammates.

The alleged victim was also at the clubrooms drinking, however was not socialising or associating with Sefo.

At about 10.30pm she left the bar area and went to a different part of the College Rifles club to sleep.

Her friend - also a senior teammate of Sefo - went with her and the pair "made out" for a while.

He left and she went to sleep in the room.

She claims she was "jolted" awake later in the night by Sefo having sex with her. He was on top of her and she became hysterical and tried to push him off.

Seconds later he stopped and left the room.

The woman called another player she knew for help and, after speaking briefly with her about what had happened, went and got Sefo. She challenged Sefo as to what he had done and told him to leave.

However, she claims, when she went back to the room where she had been sleeping, Sefo was there and naked from the waist down, urging her to go to bed with him.

Sefo has pleaded not guilty to raping the woman but admitted having consensual sex with her.

Crown prosecutor Nick Webby said the woman could not have consented if she was asleep and it was clearly rape.

"He crept into [the room] - uninvited and unwanted - where she was asleep and affected by alcohol," he said.

"She woke up to find this man having sex with her, on top of her, raping her."

Mr Webby said that when interviewed by police Sefo initially said he never went to the room and he "certainly did not" have any sexual contact with the woman.

But after he was told that a semen sample taken from the room was more likely to be his than anyone else's, he approached police and said he "wanted to tell the truth about what happened that night".

It was then he told police the woman had initiated oral sex and then intercourse.

The victim took the stand briefly yesterday and the jury was played a video of police interviewing her after the alleged rape, during which she describes being woken "because I could feel someone there". "I remember saying 'what the f*** are you doing to me?'"

She will give further evidence today and faces cross examination by Sefo's lawyer.

During yesterday's evidence Sefo sat behind a screen so the alleged victim did not have to see him. He watched the police interview and wiped his eyes at certain points.

- NZ Herald

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