9 October 2022

Hung jury in trial of busker accused of raping drunk woman he found in Glebe Park

| Albert McKnight
ACT Courts

Wallace Quoibia, 54, has stood trial in the ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses an alleged sexual assault.

The trial of a busker alleged to have taken advantage of a drunk woman he found in Canberra’s Glebe Park has ended with a hung jury.

Wallace Quoibia was accused of raping the 26-year-old at his unit in Ainslie Village in the early hours of 4 December 2021.

The 11 jurors spent two days deliberating before returning on Thursday afternoon (6 October) saying they could not come to a unanimous verdict.

“It is the fact that some juries are unable to agree,” Acting Justice Stephen Norrish said before discharging them.

The matter was adjourned to 20 October.

The complainant had been drinking, went out at the Civic nightclub Mooseheads where she drank more, then “just blacked out”, jurors heard at the start of the 54-year-old’s ACT Supreme Court trial on 26 September.

It was alleged Mr Quoibia later found her in Glebe Park, took her home, and then she woke up to find him raping her.

“I don’t remember much. I was sleeping, then when I woke up, he was on top of me,” the woman alleged.

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In the police interview with Mr Quoibia, recorded on 10 December 2021 and played to jurors on 29 September, he told them he had been busking near Mooseheads that night before leaving, then later met the complainant while she was sitting on the ground, swearing.

He asked if she needed paramedics or police, then offered to take her home. At his unit, he claimed she got undressed on his bed and tried to jump on him, then he put a sheet over her when she went to sleep. He drove her to her aunt’s home the next day.

An officer confronted him with the allegation that the complainant had woken up to find him raping her.

“That is not making any sense to me. It is not making any sense to me what she is saying,” he said.

“What happened is she’s just making that up.”

The officer also asked if he had had sex with the complainant.

“No!” Mr Quoibia cried. “And it wasn’t my intention.”

During the closing addresses on Tuesday (4 October), his barrister Sarah Baker-Goldsmith told jurors that what her client had done that night possibly wouldn’t be what they might do, but it was not implausible.

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She said there were six areas where they could find reasonable doubt, in part arguing that her client’s account was plausible while the complainant’s was not credible.

The complainant admitted she had a poor memory in general, Ms Baker-Goldsmith said, adding that the complainant’s recollection would also have been impacted by alcohol that night.

She said the complainant wanted to introduce Mr Quoibia to her family when he had gone to the aunt’s house and he had stayed there for about half an hour, listening to music and dancing with them.

She also said Mr Quoibia didn’t have to talk to police, so jurors could think it went to his credit that he gave them his version of events.

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