27 September 2022

Busker allegedly raped drunk woman he found in Glebe Park, trial told

| Albert McKnight
law court

Wallace Quoibia, 54, is facing a trial in the ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses an alleged sexual assault.

A prosecutor alleged a busker took advantage of a drunk woman he found in central Canberra’s Glebe Park by taking her back to his unit and sexually assaulting her.

It was the early hours of 4 December 2021 when the woman allegedly woke up to find 54-year-old Wallace Quoibia raping her at his unit in Ainslie Village, his ACT Supreme Court trial heard when it started on Monday (26 September).

The 26-year-old already had a few beers before she went to her cousin’s home to get ready for a night out and continued drinking, she said in an interview with police recorded five days after the alleged assault.

She said they went to Civic nightclub Mooseheads where she had a few more drinks, then “just blacked out”.

“I don’t remember much; I was sleeping, then when I woke up, he was on top of me,” she said.

She said she passed out again, “forgot all about it” the next day and only remembered the alleged assault a few days later.

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Crown Prosecutor Sofia Janackovic said closed-circuit television footage helped to show the woman’s journey that night.

In her opening address, she said the woman left Mooseheads with her cousin at about 2:30 am, but they got into an argument and separated. Later the woman was filmed staggering into Glebe Park.

Mr Quoibia had been busking on a street near Mooseheads that night and she passed him – still busking – when she left the nightclub.

It is alleged he went into the park after she did and was filmed leaving the park with his arm around her waist not long afterwards.

Ms Janackovic said a taxi driver was expected to say Mr Quoibia asked him to take the complainant and himself to Ainslie Village. During the drive, the pair had a loud argument about each other’s ages.

She said the woman had no memories of leaving the nightclub or being in the park and her next memory after blacking out was alleged to be waking up to Mr Quoibia raping her.

The woman allegedly pushed him away before passing out or going back to sleep. The following day, she had to dress herself, including putting on her underwear. She didn’t say anything as she wanted to leave as soon as possible.

Ms Janackovic said Mr Quoibia drove the woman to her aunt’s house and she expected jurors would hear a couple of the woman’s relatives were told he had “rescued” her from Glebe Park.

The key issue in the trial was expected to be whether there was any sexual activity between them at all, she said.

Police interviewed Mr Quoibia, she said, and he claimed he found the complainant in the park with her pants and underpants around her knees.

He claimed she didn’t want to go home and accepted his offer to go back to his unit where she took off her clothes, but he rebuffed her and she went to sleep.

Jurors were also told they would hear from a forensic biologist who was expected to say Mr Quoibia’s DNA hadn’t been found on the woman’s genitals.

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Mr Quoibia’s barrister, Sarah Baker-Goldsmith, said her client talked to police voluntarily, gave his DNA voluntarily and admitted taking the woman to his room, but he denied there was any sexual activity between them.

She urged jurors to consider questions like when the woman made the complaint, the circumstances of the allegations, and if she had given a plausible account of events.

Ms Baker-Goldsmith, whose client has pleaded not guilty to his charge of sexual intercourse without consent, suggested there could be a number of reasons why the woman’s evidence was not reliable.

The trial, which has 11 jurors as one was discharged after empanelment, continues before Acting Justice Stephen Norrish.

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