Rape charges dismissed against Crockett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rape charges dismissed against Crockett

By Amy Coopes 21/11/2008 06:14:09 PM Comments (0)

Rape charges have been dropped against New Zealand Warriors winger Michael Crockett, with a Sydney magistrate ruling there are too many questions about his accuser's credibility.

Crockett, 25, crossed the Tasman to front a committal hearing on Friday at Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on three sex charges.

The diminutive league player was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman who he met at a Kings Cross nightclub during after-game celebrations last August.

The pair had consensual sex that night at the woman's city apartment but Crockett allegedly attempted to force himself on her the following morning.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Helen Syme said the prosecution case rested largely on the claimant's evidence, but "unusually" for a rape charge, also featured an eyewitness.

The woman's sister, 21, also lived in the apartment and was at the premises when the alleged incident took place on the morning of August 6.

Giving evidence at the hearing in June, she told Ms Syme there were no noises or any other indication that her sister was in distress and she was "shocked" when the rape claim was made.

Importantly, the magistrate said, the older woman contradicted her sister on a number of points, and was far from corroborative of her version of events.

"The evidence of the complainant and the sister's evidence highlights a difficulty with the complainant's credibility," Ms Syme said.

"It's because of the conflict in the evidence ... that it's my view (that) finders of fact would have difficulty accepting the complainant's version of events."

Ms Syme said medical evidence about injuries to the woman's genitals was "equivocal" and did not prove she had been penetrated against her will.

Ultimately, the "inconsistencies" presented too great a hurdle for a jury to be convinced, beyond reasonable doubt, that Crockett had raped the woman or known it was without her consent, she said.

"I'm therefore of the view that a jury, properly instructed, in relation to the evidence in this matter would not convict the accused of the charges before me," the magistrate ruled.

"For these reasons I propose to discharge him."

Sitting with his parents in the public gallery, Crockett let out a sigh of relief.

He mouthed "thank you" to his barrister and clapped a hand on the shoulder of an NRL representative who accompanied him to court.

Crockett is the second league player to have rape charges against him dismissed this year.

Gold Coast Titans star Anthony Laffranchi was in April cleared of rape allegations in Sydney's Burwood Local Court.

Magistrate Caroline Barkell dismissed the case against Laffranchi, finding there was insufficient evidence that his alleged victim had not consented.

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