court file

Rapist yachtsman loses appeal

A YACHTSMAN has lost his case in Queensland's highest court after he appealed his rape and sexual assault conviction.

Last year a jury found John Collins guilty of three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, which occurred against a 19-year-old woman between December 1985 and January 1987, when he was about 42 years old.

He appealed this conviction, arguing the woman was an unreliable witness. But the Queensland Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal on Friday.

The court judgment said Collins had interviewed the woman to become a nanny for his son while they travelled on his yacht for several weeks along the coast of Queensland from Mooloolaba to the Whitsundays, including stops at Bundaberg and Great Keppel Island.

He made sexual innuendos towards her, including suggesting she sunbathe nude or topless and threatened that he had friends that would hurt her family if she didn't have sex with him.

After the third time she was raped, she stayed in the same cabin with Collins every night until the end of the trip. In her evidence, she said there was no use fighting it every single time because it was going to hurt her more and more.

Once at Hamilton Island, the woman left on a ferry to the mainland and contacted her mother and caught a bus home.

The woman came forward to police about 20 years after the offences.

At his appeal, Collins's lawyers argued that the woman's evidence could not be adequately tested, that she had made contradictions in her evidence and that she was an unreliable witness.

During the trial, Collins gave evidence saying their relationship was consensual.

In the Queensland Court of Appeal judgment handed down on Friday, Justice Philip Morrison found it was open to the jury to accept the woman's evidence.

He said all of the inconsistencies and inadequacies in the evidence were fully tested before the jury at the trial.

"... I cannot conclude that the evidence is so inconsistent, inadequate, or lacking in probative force that there is a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted,” Justice Morrison found.


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