‘Strikingly similar’ testimony stressed

Photo: ODT files.
Photo: ODT files.
Two women’s testimony about being raped by a man they matched with on Tinder is so "strikingly similar" it must be true, the Crown says.

Counsel for 24-year-old Michael John Danyon Fraser, however, told the jury at his Dunedin District Court trial yesterday that he was the victim of "a good, old-fashioned Kiwi stitch-up".

The defendant is accused of three counts of rape, one of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and two of attempting to do so.

Over the past week the court heard from two young women who connected with Fraser on the popular dating app and who went home with him — one in January 2018, the other little over a month later.

Crown prosecutor Richard Smith said the women might have contemplated having sex with the defendant but that soon changed once his aggression emerged behind closed doors.

"Don’t be prejudiced against these young women because they met Mr Fraser on Tinder," he said.

"Signing up to Tinder is not signing up to be raped, to be choked, to be slapped."

Both complainants said they were subjected to such violence and described a similar attempt to force them into a specific sex act.

When Fraser gave evidence, he told the court he relented with the "rough sex" when the first woman objected and carried out consensual acts with the second.

Defence counsel John Munro said the complainants had deliberately underplayed mutual sex acts they had agreed to with the defendant.

The first woman, he stressed, told a doctor who examined her of kissing and other things which were never disclosed when she was formally interviewed by police.

"I suggest [it was] a deliberate lie and a deliberate attempt to mislead the police and you [the jury]," Mr Munro told the jury.

"You don’t kiss a strangling rapist."

The second, he suggested, had fabricated a scene akin to a movie.

"The door shuts and this beast comes out," Mr Munro said.

"She wanted it to sound like the scene of the most awful kidnapping, strangling assault and rape that you’ve seen and it’s just not."

But Mr Smith highlighted the fact the women were not friends, had not colluded and yet their complaints had clear commonalities.

"What are the chances they just happened to describe strikingly similar incidents about a young man who happens to get sexual gratification out of slapping, choking and dominating partners?" he said.

"Either they’re telling the truth or Mr Fraser is so unlucky it defies common sense."

He underscored the evidence of one of the defendant’s ex-girlfriends with whom he had practised consensual rough sex.

"It’s not fair that people like you like to be choked but when I do it to someone else it’s like I’m raping them or whatever," Fraser messaged her.

The woman suggested he should not assume all women enjoyed it.

"He admits getting pleasure from dominating his sexual partners. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that sounds a lot like rape," Mr Smith told the jury.

Mr Munro called it a "stitch-up".

Fraser’s ex-girlfriend was simultaneously communicating with a friend of the second complainant – "double-crossing" the defendant, he said.

And the police also orchestrated a series of text messages between the woman and her alleged rapist a few weeks after the incident in an attempt to record a conversation between the pair.

"It’s troubling to see this is how this case has been built," Mr Munro said.

He described Fraser as "polite, respectful, articulate and intelligent" and said the jury could believe his version of events.

Mr Smith told jurors to use their common sense.

"This isn’t about consensual rough sex at all. It’s about the defendant’s self-indulgent behaviour," he said.

"He simply didn’t care whether they consented or not."

Judge Michael Crosbie will sum up the case on Monday before the jury considers its verdicts.

The cases


  • No evidence of clothes being forcibly removed, as complainants described.
  • Both women downplayed or lied about consensual sex acts that took place.
  • Both told jury they were subject to choking and slapping but no evidence of injuries.
  • Neither women went immediately to police, instead speaking to friends first.
  • Fraser’s flatmates never heard protestations of complainants or anything unusual.


  • Strikingly similar complaints from two women within five weeks.
  • Fraser told ex-girlfriend it was "not fair" some girls did not like rough sex, after events.
  • Emotional reactions of complainants in immediate aftermath consistent with rape.
  • Fraser’s testimony came across scripted, tried to display a flawless memory.
  • No evidence either complainant had ever expressed interest in rough sex.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter