20 September 2023

Woman alleges the two men accused of raping her at a hotel 'wouldn't listen' to her pleas to stop

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts

Two men are fighting charges accusing them of raping a woman together. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

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

While a woman alleged two men refused to listen to her as she demanded they stop while they raped her at a hotel, their lawyers have suggested that no such acts occurred.

Seti Palei Moala, aged in his late 20s, and Paula Fala Kata, in his mid-30s, are accused of raping the woman at the Lyneham Motor Inn in the morning of 3 April 2022, jurors heard when their trial began in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday (18 September).

The woman told police she had 20 to 30 drinks that night and parts of her memory were “blurry”. She was “pretty wasted” when she arrived at the Fiction nightclub, but could still see what was happening.

She said she and her friend met a group of men and she remembered “hooking up” with one she called a “bigger guy” – alleged to be Mr Kata.

Four of them went back to the hotel, although the woman could not remember the journey. After they arrived, she and the bigger guy had consensual sex before she “dozed off”.

She claimed she woke up to find a “younger male” – alleged to be Mr Moala – on top of her.

“I was trying to kick him off and get him off, but he wouldn’t get off and kept saying he was ‘like Spider-Man’,” she said.

She said it was “really strange” that he was saying he was “like Spider-Man”, she said.

“He was laughing, saying I wasn’t able to get him off,” the woman said.

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She alleged Mr Moala took her clothes off, pinned her arms above her head, held her down and both he and Mr Kata raped her, including at the same time.

“I just gave up. I stopped fighting. I just wanted it to be over with. I just froze,” the woman said.

“I said ‘stop’ numerous times, though, before I gave up and they just wouldn’t listen.”

She also alleged Mr Moala had been “really rough” and choked her.

The woman said when she finally got up she “lost it” and started punching the two men and screaming.

Her friend, who had also returned to the hotel but had fallen asleep, woke up while the woman wrapped herself in a blanket and walked out of the room.

She claimed she was in a lot of pain when she arrived home.

“I just felt like my body wasn’t mine,” she said.

During her cross-examination on Tuesday (19 September), Mr Moala’s lawyer, Edward Chen, suggested that after she’d had consensual sex with Mr Kata, two men had walked into the hotel room while she was still awake and she made eye contact with the “younger man”.

He suggested this man lay down next to her and they began talking before he lay on top of her, then they started kissing and wrestling in a “playful manner”.

Mr Chen also said the man did say “I’m like Spider-Man” when they had been rolling around together, but he had been “joking around”.

The lawyer suggested the younger man had touched the woman’s neck, but not with force, and that he had tried to have sex with her, but she kicked him away. He said that was the end of their interaction.

The woman said she could not recall or that she disagreed with his comments.

“I can’t fully recall every detail; I’ve made that pretty clear,” she said at one stage.

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James Sabharwal, barrister for Mr Kata, suggested that apart from what had occurred between the bigger guy and the woman before she fell asleep at the hotel, he had not had sex with her again.

Mr Sabharwal also suggested that the woman had gotten up from the bed, leaving the younger guy there, to a table where the bigger guy was sitting and started crying.

The woman disagreed with his comments.

Both men are charged with sexual intercourse without consent in company, among other charges, and have pleaded not guilty.

The trial continues before Chief Justice Lucy McCallum.

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