A man has been found guilty of raping a woman in a Napier bar toilet several hours after telling her he had just got out of prison for bashing someone.

Paora Tahau, 22, stood trial in the Napier District Court this week charged with two counts of rape and a third of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

He was accused of raping a woman, then aged 20, in a women's toilet cubicle at the Thirsty Whale in February this year.

After deliberating for five and a half hours the jury of nine women and three men found the defendant guilty of one charge of rape, and not guilty of the sexual violation and second rape charges.


Throughout the two-day trial defence lawyer Scott Jefferson told the jury the sex was consensual after kissing and cuddling between the pair, which was captured in images from 40 cameras throughout the bar.

He suggested the charges, to which Tahau pleaded not guilty, had stemmed from "post-coital regret" on the part of the complainant.

The jury heard the defendant had introduced himself to the young woman by telling her, "I've just come out of jail - for bashing someone".

Crown prosecutor Fiona Cleary submitted that it was this information that made the complainant acquiesce to his sexual advances, eventually leading to the non-consensual encounter in the women's toilets.

The pair had first met that night when she and her friends were joined by Tahau and his friends before the rape, which occurred about 2.30am on February 19, Ms Cleary said.

The prosecution submitted the pair had talked and were seen being "quite affectionate" towards each other, but that the woman became more and more uncomfortable about the "level" of Tahau's attention, and made an excuse to flee to the ladies' toilets.

She did not consent to what happened as Tahau followed her into the toilets, where he took off her underwear in a cubicle, sat on the toilet seat and forced her onto him, despite her resistance, Ms Cleary said.

The prosecutor said the woman left the toilets upset and crying and, after leaving the Thirsty Whale with her friends, soon contacted family and police.


In his summary Judge Geoff Rea told the jury the case had some "unusual aspects", one of them being that neither the defendant or the woman knew each other's names at the time of the encounter.

The court had heard 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.

Judge Rea convicted him of rape, discharging him of the two other charges, and remanded him in custody for sentencing set for December 1.