18 June 2021

Hayden Smedley found not guilty of raping young woman

| Albert McKnight
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Hayden Smedley

Hayden Smedley, 21, approaches the ACT Courthouse earlier this week. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A Supreme Court jury has found Hayden Smedley, 21, not guilty of having sex with a woman without her consent.

The 12-person jury deliberated for several hours on Friday (18 June) before returning its verdict.

Mr Smedley kept a straight face after the verdict was delivered but later could be seen wiping his eyes and nose before hugging his lawyer.

READ MORE Man facing sexual assault trial allegedly told woman ‘it’s not rape if you enjoy it’

On 15 June, the Supreme Court was told Smedley met the woman on the dating app Bumble in early 2020 when she was 17 years old, although she said she was 18 on the app.

In prosecutor Keegan Lee’s opening address to the jury, he said she decided she wanted to meet him in person for the first time and have sex with him in April 2020.

Mr Smedley sent her his address and she drove to see him at the two-storey house in Gungahlin he shared with several housemates.

The two began to have consensual sex but stopped after it became painful for the woman.

It had been alleged that afterwards, Mr Smedley raped the woman, but he denied the allegations.

Mr Lee had said Mr Smedley admitted he had sex with the woman but said it was consensual.

He said Mr Smedley said the woman appeared uncomfortable at one stage, and he offered to stop having sex, but she declined.

Mr Lee also said Mr Smedley agreed he used the word “rape” during the incident but said he had done so because he was trying to joke around.

The trial was held before Justice Michael Elkaim.

If this story has raised any concerns for you, 1800RESPECT, the national 24-hour sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line, can be contacted on 1800 737 732. Help and support are available through The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre 02 6247 2525, The Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT 02 6280 0900, and Lifeline 13 11 14. In an emergency call 000.

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russianafroman2:41 pm 19 Jun 21

Justice served

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