"I've just come out of jail - for bashing someone."
That's how 22-year-old Paora Tahau claims he introduced himself to a young woman he met in West Quay Napier bar the Thirsty Whale - an hour or two before he is alleged to have raped her in the women's toilets.
Defence lawyer Scott Jefferson told the Napier District Court yesterday the sex was consensual after kissing and cuddling between the two, captured in images from 40 cameras throughout the bar.
He suggested the two charges of rape and one of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, to which Tahau pleaded not guilty, stemmed from "post-coital regret" on the part of the complainant, who was aged 20 at the time.
Crown prosecutor Fiona Cleary told Judge Geoff Rea and the jury of nine women and three men it happened about 2.30am on February 19. The pair met for the first time when she and her two friends were joined by Tahau and his friends about three hours earlier.
They talked and were seen becoming "quite affectionate" towards each other, but the woman became more and more uncomfortable about the "level" of Tahau's attention, and made an excuse to flee to the ladies', the prosecutor said.
She did not consent to what happened as Tahau followed her into the toilets, where it was claimed he took off her underwear in a cubicle, sat on the toilet seat and forced her onto him, despite her resistance, the Crown said. aShe too scared to "call out" when two friends went looking for her and knocked on the cubicle doors.
The prosecutor said the woman left the toilets upset and crying, left the bar with her friends, and her family and police were contacted soon afterwards.
Jefferson said Tahau voluntarily went to the Hastings Police Station two days later after learning he was being sought for questioning and made two statements, in which he admitted having sex with the woman but said it was consensual.
The woman, her two friends, associates of the accused who had been in the bar, and a bouncer were all giving evidence in the trial, which was expected to end late today or early tomorrow.
-More to come