A jury has acquitted a man of rape after a trial concluded in the County Court in Ballarat.
Harrison Bond, 23, had pleaded not guilty to one charge of rape.
The case surrounded the complainant alleging Bond had digitally penetrated her vagina without her consent when she fell asleep on a couch at a party on August 15, 2018.
The trial took place in the County Court at Ballarat for about a week from September 29, with multiple witnesses giving evidence throughout.
The jury began deliberating on Wednesday afternoon and returned its verdict on Friday morning.
It came after the prosecutor and defence gave their final addresses to the jury on Wednesday.
In his final address, defence counsel Robert Thyssen said the incident took place at a party in a "sexually charged atmosphere" where everyone was drinking.
He suggested the complainant had actively encouraged the act but was embarrassed at what occurred in such close proximity to her friends.
He said Bond had no prior convictions, had cooperated with the investigation and was distressed at the accusation.
"The prosecution have laid this charge and need to prove it beyond reasonable doubt," Mr Thyssen said. "In my submission, they haven't."
Prosecution counsel Amit Malik gave three reasons for why the jury should be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Bond digitally penetrated the complainant without her consent.
The first was the lack of interaction between the two on the night leading up to the assault, that multiple witnesses giving evidence that the complainant appeared to be asleep at the time of the incident and finally the complainant's shocked reaction when she allegedly woke to the penetration, stood up and walked straight out of the room.
But the jury, who took just over a day to come to a decision, rejected the prosecution's arguments and delivered a not guilty verdict on the single charge of rape.
Affected by this story? There is help available. You can phone the Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault, in Sebastopol, on 5320 3933, or free-call the crisis care line 24 hours on 1800 806 292. Or phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380.
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