A former Ballarat publican accused of raping a drunk patron 14 years ago is standing trial in the County Court.
Trevor John McNeight, 57, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape allegedly committed against a 20-year-old woman at his Peel Street pub in September 2004.
Police allege McNeight intentionally sexually penetrated the woman twice without her consent but McNeight says the sex was consensual.
The trial started in Ballarat on Thursday with opening addresses by the prosecution and defence, and the first prosecution witness.
Crown prosecutor David O'Doherty told the jury McNeight was the publican at Tubbies Bar in Peel Street when he started giving the complainant numerous alcoholic drinks one night in the middle of September, 2004.
The 20-year-old woman had drunk two to three pots of beer and between six to eight Jim Beam pre-mixed cans, causing her to be intoxicated.
“At midnight the accused man called last drinks. He placed a Jim Beam can in front of the accused and told her not to rush it,” Mr O’Doherty said.
“He locked the doors and sat down next to the complainant. He said to her, ‘come over to the couch because it’s more comfortable’.”
Mr O’Doherty said McNeight asked the complainant for sex and when she said ‘no’, he tried to persuade her and she again said ‘no’.
He said McNeight then raped her orally and vaginally before he rushed to the toilets while she put her clothes back on.
“The accused came back from the toilets and said, ‘time to go’. He unlocked the door and left,” Mr O’Doherty said.
The jury was told the complainant walked to the nearby Coles supermarket where she watched McNeight leave in his car while she caught a taxi home.
Defence barrister David Gray said the issue in this case was consent, telling the jury “the narrative you will hear from the complainant is in hot dispute”.
He reminded the jury of 13 that an accused person was innocent unless proven guilty.
“This is one of the most important tasks a jury will undertake. You stand in judgement of a fellow citizen,” Mr Gray said.
“I ask you to go about that task … without sympathy to the complainant and without sympathy to my client.”
Judge Bill Stuart told the jury there were four elements of a rape charge that needed to be proven before an accused person could be found guilty.
He said they were the accused sexually penetrated the complainant, he did this intentionally, the complainant did not consent and the accused was aware the complainant was not consenting or might not be consenting.
The complainant started to give her evidence in a closed court on Thursday.
The trial will continue on Friday.
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