Jury finds Ballarat man guilty of rape

A Ballarat jury has found a man guilty of raping and setting fire to a woman he was in a relationship with in 2015.

After deliberating for about four hours, the 13 jurors found the man guilty of two rape charges and one charge each of recklessly causing injury and recklessly conduct endangering serious injury.

He was acquitted of two counts of rape and one count each of common law assault and false imprisonment.

The jury acquitted the man of the burglary charge by the judge's direction.

The man, who The Courier cannot name for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to the nine charges at the County Court at Ballarat.

Over the eight-day trial before Judge McInerney, the jury was told the man forced the woman to have sex with him in March 2015 after he was angered by text messages she received from an ex-partner.

Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourke said on another occasion, the man set fire to the woman’s clothes while she was wearing them before ripping them off and forcing her to have sex with him.

During a recorded police interview played to the jury, the accused man said he had “kinky” sex with the woman and an alleged rape put to him was like one of the ways they had sex.

The man told police the woman mostly asked him to tie her up, call her names during sex and spank her. 

Defence barrister Daniel McGlone said his client completely denied the allegations. He said the jury’s role was to determine if his client was guilty. 

“We are not engaged in an emotional exercise but an intellectual one,” Mr McGlone said. 

“He has done nothing; he is innocent unless the prosecution can prove otherwise beyond reasonable doubt.

“We ask you to put any sympathies or prejudice to one side.”

The jury heard evidence from the victim in a closed court. A friend of the victim also gave evidence.

The man, who was supported in court by family and friends, sat silently in the dock during the trial.

His plea hearing will be held at the County Court at a later date.