3 February 2023

'You can never make this right': woman allegedly woke to find friend sexually assaulting her

| Albert McKnight
Man in suit leaving court

Thomas Earle leaves the courthouse on Monday afternoon. Photo: Albert McKnight.

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains a discussion of an alleged sexual assault.

A woman blasted her friend after he allegedly began sexually assaulting her while she was sleeping, including messaging him to say, “I trusted you and you f-king raped me”.

She had messaged Thomas Earle several weeks after the alleged incident, asking him questions like, “can you sleep at night, because I can’t” and, “am I the only one who has to live with the consequences of your actions”.

Mr Earle allegedly replied that he hadn’t gone through a day without thinking about it and called himself a “stupid person” before the woman told him, “You can never make this right”.

“You knew I was struggling and you still just did what you wanted to my body,” she said.

The allegations were aired during the start of the ACT Supreme Court trial against Mr Earle on Monday (30 January), in which he is fighting three counts of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of committing an act of indecency.

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He had stayed over at the woman’s home a few times in the month before the alleged incident in December 2021 and she considered him a friend.

The pair had dinner together, drank alcohol, consumed ‘jungle juice’, smoked marijuana and watched a movie, Crown prosecutor Beth Morrisroe said.

Ms Morrisroe said the woman felt “incredibly high” after she had the drink.

The woman eventually decided to go to bed, while Mr Earle wanted to stay up for a while.

It is alleged she woke up at about 2 am to find him sexually assaulting her before he raped her.

The 12 jurors are expected to hear it alleged that the woman didn’t expect this because she had been asleep.

The woman explained she felt frozen and couldn’t speak during the alleged assault until she eventually said, “wait, wait, wait”, and he asked if she was okay before stopping.

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Later that morning, Mr Earle allegedly sent her a message to say there was no excuse for his “awful behaviour”.

The woman sent him the comments such as “you can never make this right” in January 2022. She went to the police a few days later.

Defence barrister James Sabharwal said Mr Earle did not deny having sex with the woman, but he urged jurors to consider what his client was thinking at the time of the alleged offences.

He also questioned whether he knew she wasn’t consenting at the time.

The trial continues before Chief Justice Lucy McCallum.

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