A jury has found a former Ballarat publican not guilty of raping a patron 14 years ago.
The Ballarat jury found Trevor John McNeight, 57, not guilty of two counts of rape at the County Court on Wednesday about 2.20pm.
After the verdict was delivered, Mr McNeight told The Courier justice had been served.
During the seven-day trial the Crown prosecutor told the 13-member jury Mr McNeight intentionally sexually penetrated the woman twice without her consent at Tubbies Bar in Peel Street on 23 September in 2004.
But Mr McNeight told the jury the 20-year-old complainant had initiated the sex.
He said the complainant’s version of events that night was “wrong”, that she had initiated it by telling him to stand up and then unzipping his pants, and that she had said “we shouldn’t be doing this”.
When Crown prosecutor David O’Doherty asked McNeight if he agreed with the sex, Mr McNeight said “probably” but that she had “laughed and said ‘keep going’?”
Mr O’Doherty asked, “If you thought she was too drunk to give consent, would you have gone ahead?”.
“Definitely not … that’s not me,” Mr McNeight said.
The prosecution alleged during the trial Mr McNeight was the publican at Tubbies Bar when he started giving the complainant numerous alcoholic drinks on the night in question.
Justice has been served.Trevor John McNeight
The 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 Mr McNeight asked the complainant for sex and when she said ‘no’, he tried to persuade her and she again said ‘no’ before raping her.
The complainant gave evidence in a closed court last week, while Mr McNeight took to the witness stand on Tuesday.
Mr Mcneight pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and maintained his innocence during the trial.
Judge Bill Stuart thanked the jury for their service.