Pair accused of raping woman in car

By Kristin Macfarlane

Two men kidnapped a woman who had been drinking, drove her to an isolated area near the dump and raped her, a Rotorua court has heard.

Gurpinder Singh Brar and Amritpal Singh Sidhu are on trial in the Rotorua District Court this week accused of one count of kidnapping and two counts of rape.

The pair pleaded not guilty to the charges before Judge James Weir and a jury of six men and six women. Sidhu is represented by lawyer Harry Edward and Louis Te Kani is representing Brar, who required an interpreter in court.

It is alleged the men kidnapped and raped the 38-year-old woman on October 16 last year at Rotorua.

In her evidence to the court, the complainant said she was scared and during the ordeal she was "wondering if I was going to make it home". "I was scared and numb," the woman, who cannot be legally identified, said.

Appearing for the Crown, Chris Macklin said the complainant was picked up by the two accused while she was walking to a house in Malfroy Rd early last October 16.

He said when they started driving in the wrong direction she asked to get out and tried opening the door but she couldn't open it.

Sidhu, who was a 20-year-old salesman in Rotorua at the time, then jumped into the back seat, where the complainant was, and put his hand on her neck.

Sidhu raped the complainant while Brar was driving. The car stopped near the Rotorua Landfill and once Sidhu had finished, Brar, who was 23 at the time, jumped into the back of the car and also raped the complainant.

The men then drove back into town and dropped the woman off in Sophia St. Mr Macklin said the woman told the pair she wasn't from Rotorua.

As the pair drove off the woman memorised the number plate and asked a woman in the neighbourhood to call police.

Mr Macklin said: "This is a case about exploitation.

"They picked her up on the offer of a lift home but instead of taking her home they took her a few kilometres out of town towards the rubbish dump.

"It was, the Crown says, a power trip." The other man watched while the first man raped her, touching himself while he watched. The second man then raped the woman.

Mr Macklin told the court the men told police during questioning they had not met the complainant during that night and denied having sex with her.

But DNA evidence proved a sexual encounter had taken place.

He said the defence case was now expected to be one of consent, that the complainant had consensual sex with the men.

During the trial, the court heard the complainant had been drinking alcohol with her boyfriend at her cousin's house in Malfroy Rd from about 9pm. A few hours later the woman and her boyfriend started heading into town but on the way, the couple began arguing so the woman got out of the car.

The court heard how a man, whom she didn't know, stopped and asked her if she was okay and needed a ride. She said she had seen the man around but didn't know him personally. They were flirting with each other and ended up having consensual sex.

The man then dropped the woman off on the corner of Ranolf and Eruera Sts after he received a text message from his family to pick them up and she started walking towards Malfroy Rd.

It was while she was walking that Sidhu and Brar approached her.

Mr Macklin said he would call 28 witnesses, including the complainant, the first man who picked her up, ESR scientists, two young women who were with Sidhu and Brar earlier, Sidhu's wife, police and more.

The trial is expected to take up to five days.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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