Couple on trial for rape

A NORTHERN Rivers couple has gone on trial in Lismore District Court for the rape and indecent assault of a young woman alleged to have taken place when they took her for a drive in their car to Byron Bay and Ballina.

The couple, aged in their 20s, are pleading not guilty to the charges in a jury trial before Judge James Black.

In his opening address yesterday, the Crown prosecutor said the woman agreed to go with the couple on the evening of February 9, 2008.

After visiting Byron Bay and Ballina the woman was later driven to Uralba Road, where the driver stopped his car in a dark area. As he and his girlfriend began kissing in the front seat the girlfriend suggested to the woman that she 'make out' with the boyfriend.

The prosecutor said she refused and the couple climbed into the back seat to engage in sexual activity.

When the girlfriend returned to the car from a toilet break wearing jeans but no shirt or bra, the man pulled down and removed the other woman's pants leaving her naked below the waist.

The prosecutor said she was not strong enough to stop him and the man began having sex with her despite her telling him 'no'.

He said the woman took off her top, cardigan and bra but that she, in her evidence, would tell the court why she did that.

The girlfriend is accused of performing a sex act on the woman, who tried to push her away. The man is alleged to have moved close with his penis a few centimetres away from her head in what the Crown alleges was an act of indecency.

Outside the car the man is accused of again raping the woman. And when the couple kissed, his girlfriend is accused of touching the woman on her breast. Photographs were also taken of the woman naked on the backseat and while dressing. Over 20 photos taken from a digital camera were tendered as evidence.

Megan Cusack, counsel for the accused man, told the jury it was not a question that the events had not happened or been made up, but 'at all relevant times when he had sexual intercourse with her it was with her consent'.

“A photo tells 1000 words,” Ms Cusack said, then stated both women that night posed for photos with their shirts off and showing their bras.

The trial continues today.

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