A man accused of kidnapping his ex-partner, threatening her with a ketamine-filled needle and demanding she drive him to Yass has been acquitted of all charges.
Samuel Carrasco, 25, whose judge-alone trial had started on Tuesday, smiled at the ACT Supreme Court’s gallery and shouted “woohoo” as he was led off by custody officers after he was found not guilty on Thursday (17 March).
When Acting Justice Peter Berman announced his decision, he said the Crown prosecution relied “almost exclusively” on the evidence of the complainant, but he could not be satisfied the “puzzling” aspects of her evidence could be explained.
He said she claimed she travelled with Carrasco from location to location and was forced to remain with him against her will on 16 May 2021. She alleged he held a sharp object to her neck, which he said was a syringe containing ketamine.
Acting Justice Berman said that texts were sent to the complainant’s mother during the night suggesting the pair had been kidnapped and needed to pay a ransom of $5000. However, despite being warned not to contact the police, the mother did so.
When police found the pair, he said the complainant showed obvious signs of distress and was incoherent. But he commented on parts of her evidence, including that she and Carrasco stopped at a service station during the night, but she did not ask staff to call for help when she went inside.
She alleged she was afraid, Carrasco had threatened to make up false allegations against her and she didn’t want him to drive away in her car, although Acting Justice Berman said this had to be balanced against her claim Carrasco had threatened to inject her with ketamine.
He also said police didn’t find any needle or sharp object when they searched her car.
Acting Justice Berman said the complainant would have had “but moments” to fabricate false allegations when the police unexpectedly found them, but there were not just one or two aspects of inconsistent behaviour. Instead, he said, many things she had done that evening were inconsistent.
He found Carrasco not guilty on three charges: detaining a person with the intention of holding them to ransom, an alternative charge of making a demand with a threat to endanger safety, and a charge of assault.
Carrasco is serving a jail sentence for a hit-and-run on Christmas Day 2020 for which he is not eligible to be released until May 2022, but the Supreme Court heard he has also pleaded guilty to a charge of blackmail and will be sentenced on that at a later date.