Man denies sexual assault

A MAN accused of sexually assaulting a young woman in Byron Bay told Lismore District Court yesterday he had not even seen the woman at the time of the alleged attack.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of groping the woman and of trying to force her to touch him after a night of Halloween festivities at backpacker establishments and the Cheeky Monkeys night club in 2008.

The man said he had been planning to open a new club in the town and went to the night club to socialise and network with other tourist operators.

“Anyone who is anyone in the tourism industry was there that night,” he said.

Looking pale and drawn, the man told the court that after leaving the night club after 3am he went to the nearby home of a surf school operator and then to a friend’s house on Bangalow Road, but at no time saw the young woman.

The woman had said the man chased her when she fled.

She escaped by getting a ride with a passing motorist after she fell and twisted her ankle.

A security guard from Cheeky Monkeys told the court he was walking out the door to go home about 4am when the woman and the motorist arrived.

The guard saw the woman, who was his girlfriend’s best friend, hunched over in the car’s front passenger seat in a ‘semi-foetal’ position crying uncontrollably and saying the name of her alleged attacker over and over.

When she calmed down enough to talk the woman told him she had briefly ‘passed out’ and came to with the accused’s hand down her shirt and pants.

The case continues on Monday.

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