29 June 2021

Partner allegedly raped at work by well-known Canberra businessman

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

The court has heard the man and women were in a “fairly successful business”. Photo: Region Media.

A prominent Canberra businessman has been charged with allegedly raping his former partner while they were at work.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday (28 June) for the first day of his jury trial. He pleaded not guilty to four charges that included a count of sexual intercourse without consent.

Prosecutor Rebecca Christensen told the jurors the man’s relationship with his partner was breaking down in 2018.

They worked together and had children together.

Ms Christensen alleged one day the two were at work, with other staff members, when he asked to speak to her in private.

She alleged as they walked to a different part of the office, he grabbed her arm and pulled their bodies together before digitally raping her, staring at her in anger as he did so.

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Ms Christensen said a second incident occurred months later when the man arrived to pick up their children from her home.

She alleged he pressed his body into hers and touched her inappropriately, gritting his teeth and staring at her while their children were nearby.

This time, one of the woman’s relatives was present and Ms Christensen told the jury she expected they would hear the relative allege he saw the man grab the woman on her buttocks over her clothes.

Ms Christensen alleged the man would engage physically with the woman in a sexual or indecent way to intimidate, humiliate or control her.

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The man’s barrister, Steven Whybrow of Key Chambers, said the couple worked in a “fairly successful business”, but the end of their relationship had become “toxic”.

He said it was his argument that the incidents alleged by the woman “did not occur”. He said what she alleged seemed to change depending on who she was speaking to.

Mr Whybrow told jurors they may decide her allegations were a “projection” of her own behaviour.

He alleged at the end of their relationship it was her that had been “aggressive, abusive, nasty” to him and it would be suggested that she had been controlling or intimidating.

The trial will run before Justice Michael Elkaim.

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