A man has denied raping a woman near a Rotorua skate park,
claiming the sex was consensual.
Vincent Murray Smith, 27, appeared in the Rotorua District
Court yesterday to stand trial on a charge of raping the
young woman after a party in October 2006.
Judge Russell Callander told the jury this was a retrial,
saying that was not uncommon and the reasons for it were
In his opening address, Rotorua Crown prosecutor Chris
Macklin said the alleged rape happened after Smith and the
complainant met at a party.
It was accepted by the pair they had sexual intercourse
outside near the skate park and the Caltex service station on
Ranolf St. However the issue was whether the woman had
consented, he said.
Mr Macklin said there were no eye witnesses to the encounter,
nor CCTV footage, therefore it would be a simple case of who
the jury believed.
He said the woman's evidence would show she struggled, cried
out and tried to get away and that Smith ripped her pants
from her body. He said she was found in a distressed state
afterwards by people who called police.
Smith's lawyer, Louis Te Kani, said his client "vehemently"
denied the charge against him.
"It's not rape, it was consensual sex," he said.
Mr Te Kani said two people had given statements they believed
the pair were going to "hook up" on the evening in question.
He said Smith would not take the stand as he had already been
interviewed twice by police and a DVD of his statement would
instead be played to the jury.
The trial is expected to finish today.
- By Katie Holland of the Rotorua Daily Post