Tinder match was not consent, woman says

A woman who was allegedly coerced into sex acts said matching with the man on Tinder was not an indication of her consent.

A 39-year-old man, who has name suppression until verdict, is on trial before the Dunedin District Court charged with three counts of sexual conduct with consent induced by threats, two of assaulting a female and one of attempted sexual violation.

After he met the woman on dating app Tinder in May last year, the pair soon moved from messaging online to meeting for a coffee.

Within hours of that encounter, they began exchanging sexually explicit text messages which culminated in a video chat that saw both parties perform sexual acts.

Unbeknown to the complainant, the man had an app that recorded the exchange and he pleaded guilty to making an intimate visual recording at the trial’s outset.

What happened in the days following was hotly disputed.

The complainant told the jury the man used the existence of the sex tape to effectively blackmail her into bending to his sexual will.

Yesterday she was cross-examined by Anne Stevens QC.

"Tinder is about hooking up for sex, isn’t it?" she asked.

"I don’t agree. Some people use it for that, but not everyone does," the complainant said.

The jury was taken through numerous messages the two shared before the alleged offending and Mrs Stevens suggested it was clear the graphic sexual content was done to titillate her client.

The complainant spoke about her most private experiences and the defendant admitted making a sex tape with a vegetable.

The woman asked if he still had it.

"You were trying to convey you’re a very sexual person," Mrs Stevens said.

"It’s still not consent," the witness replied.

The lawyer pointed to one specific exchange where the defendant quizzed the complainant on how far she would go with him physically.

"Pash me tomorrow?" he said.

"Yes," she said.

"One day we sleep together?"

"Probably."

"Yes or no?"

"If you want ... Pass, come back to that another day."

Mrs Stevens said there was no reference to the alleged blackmail in the messages they shared in the days leading up to May 29 last year.

The complainant told the court that was because the man made the threats only during their video chats.

She said he was "clever" and knew not to commit it to writing.

The woman repeatedly became upset while answering questions and there were frequent breaks to allow her to compose herself.

If the defendant was so threatening and made her uncomfortable with his explicit requests during video chats, why did the complainant not hang up or block him online, Mrs Stevens asked.

"If I was to do it again I would block him, but I got caught up in it," she said.

The woman rejected all assertions that she had lied about the forced sex acts at the defendant’s home.

"I have no reason to make this up ... what could I possibly gain from this," she said.

The trial, before Judge Kevin Phillips and a jury of seven men five women, is scheduled to end this week.

 

 

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

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