Our client is a 24 year old Laotian citizen from Homebush.
He was studying Law at the University of New South Wales.
A friend invited him to a housewarming dinner at an apartment.
The friend’s roommate and girlfriend were present at the dinner.
Two bottles of champagne were consumed by the four during the dinner, and a bottle of red wine was consumed as they played drinking games thereafter.
More alcohol was then purchased and the four kept drinking.
The host’s girlfriend later left the lounge room and made her way to the bedroom.
The host eventually joined his girlfriend, who was asleep on the bed.
The host later awoke to find his girlfriend sleeping on the floor wearing nothing but a towel.
The girlfriend then alleged that our client had entered the room, dragged her from the bed to the floor, sexually assaulted her and left while the boyfriend was asleep nearby.
Our client was in fact sleeping on the couch at the time.
He was confronted by the host and vehemently denied the allegations before leaving the premises.
Police were called and arrested our client a number of days later, then charged our client with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent (sexual assault) and two of assault with act of indecency.
Police had located a doona semen near where the complainant alleged the sexual assault occurred, and semen was found on the complainant’s perianal region.
Our client was refused police bail and his family sought our firm’s assistance.
We immediately made an application for bail in Burwood Local Court supported by lengthy submissions, which was granted.
The Crown relied on a range of material including an alleged DNA match between our client and the semen on the doona and the complainant’s perianal region, the statements of the complainant and host, relevant photos of the locations in the apartment and expert reports.
Our client was adamant that he did not commit the offences.
Our defence team meticulously reviewed the evidence. We engaged a forensic biologist to explain the presence of the DNA and a toxicology expert to comment on the effect of the complainant’s extreme level of intoxication.
The DPP was nevertheless intent on pursuing the case and it ultimately proceeded to a jury trial in Downing Centre District Court.
The extensive cross-examination of the complainant and her boyfriend revealed a range of significant inconsistencies, including discrepancies between their original statements and their evidence at trial.
It also raised scenarios regarding the presence of the DNA.
After some deliberation, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The judge directed the jury that it could reach a ‘majority verdict’ of 11:1 but the jury was still unable to agree one way or the other. The judge therefore declared a ‘hung jury’ and the jury was discharged.
The matter proceeded to a re-trial in the same court.
In preparation for the re-trial of our client, we carefully reviewed the transcripts from the first trial and pinpointed further weaknesses in the Crown case.
We obtained further expert reports that were able to provide extra evidence about the possibility of DNA inadvertently been transferred through touching the same objects.
Our team was thereby able to raise further doubt regarding the accuracy of the DNA evidence and the complainant’s version of events.
The jury then came to a unanimous verdict of not guilty of all charges.