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      Bail granted and then found not guilty to charges of Sexual Assault and Aggravated Indecent Assault

      Our client was a 24-year-old man from Laos. He was studying Law and Economics at the University of New South Wales.

      On one particular night he attended the house of one of his friends. Also present were his friend’s girlfriend and a roommate.

      A significant amount of alcohol was consumed by all parties. Eventually, the girlfriend walked to ensuite and collapsed at the toilet. The roommate vomited and retired to his bedroom.

      Finally, the friend vomited and was helped to his bed by our client. Our client then went to sleep on the lounge room couch.

      The next morning, the girlfriend alleged that our client had sexually assaulted her during the night.

      Our client strongly denied this and said that he was sleeping on the couch the entire night.

      A complaint was made to Police who arrested our client and refused him bail.

      We immediately began preparing a bail application.

      We argued that our client was a person of good character, that he denied the allegations and that there were severe reliability issues given the state of intoxication of the complainant.

      The Magistrate granted our client bail on strict conditions, including a condition that he surrender his passport and not approach any international point of departure.

      We then began preparing for Trial.

      There were a number of strong pieces of evidence that the prosecution had.

      Firstly, there was a DNA swab from the complainant’s perianal region which matched our client’s DNA profile.

      Secondly, a quilt cover had been found next to where the complainant alleged the sexual assault took place. That quilt cover had semen stains which matched our client’s DNA profile.

      In attacking these two pieces of evidence, we engaged a forensic scientist to assess the reliability of the DNA match. We were able to cast significant doubt on the significance of the DNA evidence.

      We also engaged a toxicology expert to opine on how the complainant’s level of intoxication affected her memory.

      The case initially proceeded to Trial at Downing Centre District Court.

      We cross-examined of the complainant and her boyfriend and were able to extract a string of inconsistencies in their evidence.

      We also led evidence from our DNA expert as to the reliability of the DNA evidence. We also led evidence as to the possibility of secondary DNA transfer (ie. how our client’s DNA could be found on the complainant’s perianal region without our client touching her perianal region).

      The jury deliberated for close to a week but were unable to agree on a verdict. As a result, the judge declared a ‘hung jury’.

      The case was listed for a re-trial 6 months later.

      In the re-trial, the prosecution called the roommate. We cross-examined him at length and further inconsistencies were shown between his version of events and what the other witnesses had said.

      Ultimately, the jury took less than half a day to find our client not guilty of all charges.

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