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Former NRL player Tristan Sailor has been found not guilty of raping a woman who says she was so drunk she woke up naked with no memory as to what happened.
Sailor was accused of having sex with the woman while she was either unconscious or too intoxicated to consent after a night out in Sydney with friends in October 2020.
But the 23-year-old, who pleaded not guilty to two rape charges and maintained the sex was consensual, was acquitted by the jury of both counts in the NSW District Court on Thursday, just hours after they retired to deliberate.
The trial had been told the woman had been drinking margaritas since lunchtime at a ‘bottomless brunch’ before meeting up with the former St George Illawarra player at the Beach Road Hotel in Bondi about 6.30pm October 3, 2020.
Pictured: Tristan Sailor (right) and his father Wendell Sailor (left) attending court in 2020
The pair kissed in the pub toilets before taking an Uber to her apartment with one of her friend’s and Sailor’s teammate Eddie Blacker.
Judge Antony Townsden finished giving his directions of law to the jury on Thursday, relaying evidence the alleged victim had given during closed court.
She remembers waking up the next morning in pain, saturated in urine, and in a distraught and confused state, calling her ex-boyfriend in a panic, Judge Townsden said.
Some 17 months earlier, the pair had exchanged flirtatious Instagram messages, with Sailor first sending her a message saying ‘hello honey’, which she returned with a honey pot emoji.
In evidence the woman denied harbouring any sexual attraction to Sailor and in those messages deliberately dishonestly led him on because she ‘didn’t want to be rude’.
Asked about her affections towards Sailor at the hotel prior, the woman responded: ‘That’s because I was very drunk.’
Her friend gave evidence that after the two men left the apartment she found the woman in her room unresponsive making ‘grunting noises’ with her eyes open, and lifted her onto the bed when she began to vomit.
Sailor testified that he asked the woman three times for her consent, with his lawyer Richard Pontello saying the woman had simply convinced herself she hadn’t given it after waking up with no memory.
The Crown prosecutor on Tuesday unsuccessfully argued that the jury should disregard Sailor’s evidence, saying it was ‘fundamentally at odds’ with other evidence in the trial.
In evidence the woman denied harbouring any sexual attraction to Sailor (pictured) and in those messages deliberately dishonestly led him on because she ‘didn’t want to be rude’
But in summing up his case on Wednesday, Mr Pontello urged the jury to reject the complainant’s evidence, saying she was uncooperative and less than forthcoming.
Mr Pontello argued she was clearly attracted to Sailor, pointing to her interactions with him at a venue earlier on the evening.
‘There’s over 60 instances … of the complainant initiating or starting some kind of physical contact with Mr Sailor,’ he said.
‘Now why would that attitude have changed back at the apartment?’
The complainant could have appeared to be conscious, coherent and fully alert during sex and yet have no memory of it the next day, he said.
Source: Daily Mail