Six years' jail for raping ex-partner

A Central Otago shearer who raped his ex-partner while making their children wait in the car outside has been jailed for six years.

The 39-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court for sentence yesterday after being found guilty of the charge by a jury at the end of a trial in August.

Through a statement, the victim said the verdict was vindication and she felt proud she found the strength to tell her story to a courtroom full of strangers.

She had gone to police with the complaint to ``set a good example'' for her three children but had been unable to explain to them where their father had gone after he was remanded in custody at the trial's conclusion.

The victim had been in an on-off relationship with the man for some years and went to drop laundry at his shearing cabin in Alexandra in October last year.

She had their three young children - all under 7 - with her.

An argument began in the car and continued with the whole family in the shearer's tiny quarters.

There the man claimed the victim had been unfaithful to him and ordered her to tell him the truth.

Her repeated denials were rejected until she cracked.

``I was crying, my son was yelling at him telling him to leave Mum alone, my daughter was yelling at him,'' the woman said.

``So I lied to him and told him I'd slept with somebody else.''

The man helped put the kids back into the vehicle and told them to stay there as he ushered the victim back into the cabin.

The defendant shut the curtains and locked the door.

Judge Michael Crosbie said, from the evidence of what ensued, there could be no ambiguity over the issue of consent.

``The fact is she said she wanted to leave and you said `no','' he said.

``She was holding her hands over her face, crying, again a demonstration of `no'.''

At trial the court heard the victim had followed her on-off partner to South Otago, where he was staying on bail.

There was a brief resumption of their relationship despite the earlier rape.

Judge Crosbie said it was the woman's candid approach to giving evidence at trial that sealed the man's fate.

``I suppose one of the things that stuck with the jury and stuck with me is that she went out of her way to say you were the love of her life and despite this ... she clearly still had feelings for you and that I have no doubt influenced the jury,'' he said.

The defendant had previous convictions for domestic violence but was assessed as remorseful for the sex attack and without animosity towards the victim.

Counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said her client had penned an apology letter to the victim and her family.

``He wishes to come out of prison a better person than he went in so he can be there for his family, particularly in terms of his children,'' she said.




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