19 September 2023

'I am someone's daughter': two men on trial accused of raping woman together at Lyneham hotel

| Albert McKnight
Coat of Arms on court building

Two men are on trial accused of raping a woman together after a night out in Canberra. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to an alleged sexual assault.

Two men, including one who allegedly called himself “Spider-Man”, are on trial over accusations they both raped a woman at a hotel after a night out in Canberra.

Seti Palei Moala, aged in his late 20s, and Paula Fala Kata, in his mid-30s, are fighting the allegations against them in a trial that began in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday (18 September).

They are accused of “acting together” to rape the woman at the Lyneham Motor Inn in the morning of 3 April 2022, prosecutor Melanie O’Connell told jurors during her opening address.

The woman and her friend had gone out in Canberra and ended up at Fiction, where she allegedly “hooked up” with a person she called “the big guy”. This person is alleged to be Mr Kata, although she didn’t know his name at the time.

It is alleged the pair went back to the motor inn, where Mr Moala and Mr Kata had been living while they worked, along with the friend and another man.

The friend had a drink and went to sleep while the woman had consensual sex with a person alleged to be Mr Kata, and then she also went to sleep.

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Meanwhile, Mr Moala had also been at Fiction with Mr Kata and he and another man allegedly returned to the motor inn about an hour after the others.

The woman allegedly woke up to find a man on top of her, whom she called “the younger guy”. This is alleged to be Mr Moala.

He allegedly repeatedly told her he was “Spider-Man” while she tried to push him off, then she punched him in his face and chest before he pinned her down.

It is alleged Mr Moala choked her before both he and Mr Kata raped her, including at the same time.

Ms O’Connell expected the woman’s friend to tell jurors she had been drunk and was woken up by the woman’s “screaming”, then she saw her leaving the hotel room wrapped in a blanket.

The woman “broke down” during the drive back to their home and the friend called Triple Zero within minutes of their arrival.

“She just told me that she’s been raped,” the friend told the operator on the call.

“I don’t know what to do. She can’t stop crying.”

Police officers arrived at the home after the call. In body-worn camera footage screened to the jurors, the woman could be seen crying in a room as they spoke to her.

“I am someone’s f-ing daughter. I’m someone’s mother,” she said through tears.

“I tried to push them off.”

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She also said she was “so embarrassed”, but a police officer told her, “You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about”.

“It’s not fair,” the woman said.

“No, is absolutely not,” the officer told her.

The woman was taken to hospital where she was examined and a doctor found she had injuries, Ms O’Connell said.

In an interview with police, the woman said she had been “pretty wasted” after having 20 to 30 drinks that night and parts of her memory were “blurry”.

Both men are charged with sexual intercourse without consent in company. Also, Mr Moala faces two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of choking, while Mr Kata is fighting a single count of sexual intercourse without consent. They pleaded not guilty.

The trial continues before Chief Justice Lucy McCallum.

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