Rape trial: Jury takes just over a day to reach verdict
A RAINBOW BEACH man has been found not guilty of rape and sexual assault charges after the jury took just over a day to reach its unanimous verdict.
Ngithe Lewis Pearce, 31, had been charged with two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault over an alleged incident in the tourist town on the night of August 7, 2016.
Mr Pearce had pleaded not guilty to all three charges.
The jury reached its unanimous verdict at 5.45pm yesterday, a day after they first began their deliberations.
During his summing up to the jury, Judge Glen Cash said there were several pieces of evidence to consider.
The complainant, testifying by video in a closed sitting of Gympie District Court, told the court she and her boyfriend were visiting the town from New South Wales.
They met Mr Pearce at a pub and, after drinking there and then at a “party house”, went back to his place.
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It was then alleged he carried her upstairs and raped her.
Mr Pearce’s lawyers challenged the allegations, saying there were implausibilities within the claims.
These included that while the woman claimed she hit Mr Pearce on the head to stop him during the alleged assault, she did not try to rouse her boyfriend who was asleep on the lounge next to her and her decision to accept a Facebook friend request from him the next day.
Mr Pearce’s physical ability to carry her up the stairs was also disputed.
The woman denied claims she had been flirting with Mr Pearce, had kissed him on the veranda and asked him if he wanted to have sex, and was “scared” to wake her boyfriend up after the third alleged incident.
She denied she had cheated on her boyfriend and levelled the allegations falsely.
The court heard Mr Pearce told police during his first interview the allegations were “bull----”.
In a subsequent police interview he said he had met the woman and, after they went back to his place and her boyfriend passed out, she agreed to have sex with him.