News Crime Barrister refers to ‘age of booty calls’
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Barrister refers to ‘age of booty calls’

A rape-accused's barrister says the alleged victim was "disinhibited" but could consent. Photo: Getty
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A barrister in a rape trial before a Victorian jury has argued that in the “age of dating apps, booty calls and hook-ups”, a lack of memory does not equal a lack of consent.

Harley Palise, 30, has been accused of raping a woman he and his friend found lying down on Lygon Street in the early hours of a morning before they dropped her home in June 2018

The 30-year-old floor sander said he was “just going with the flow” after she called him “sexy” and touched his body once inside in the car.

Palise’s barrister, John Kelly, on Friday told a jury at the Victorian County Court that the woman had consumed cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol while partying at a Lonsdale Street nightclub earlier in the night.

This could have left her feeling “disinhibited”, he argued, but would not have meant she was too intoxicated to consent.

“We do things when we’re disinhibited that we may not do when we’re sober – that’s just human nature,” Mr Kelly said in his closing submission.

“You might think in this day and age we operate very differently – it’s the age of dating apps, booty calls and hook-ups.

“She ingested drugs and alcohol … but if you are satisfied she could communicate in the car … (and) that she was able to initiate contact with him, then it stands to reason she was not so intoxicated as to be incapable of freely agreeing to sex.”

The court previously heard the woman returned to her home at Mernda, in Melbourne’s northeast, missing her jacket and engagement ring before later discovering bruising on her body.

But she could not remember the alleged rape.

“Absence of memory does not equate to an absence of consent,” Mr Kelly told the jury.

The defence barrister also said the woman did not mention the alleged incident to her partner when she returned home.

“If this rape scenario is true, where is the complaint?” Mr Kelly asked the jury.

Prosecutor John Dickie has argued that the woman was “not in a fit state” to consent to sex after she had consumed drugs and alcohol.

“When she entered the ute, you were well aware she was intoxicated or affected by drugs,” Mr Dickie asked Palise on Thursday.

“No, that’s not the case,” the 30-year-old tradie replied.

Mr Dickie has also asked Palise if he thought it was an “odd situation” to be invited into the back seat to have sex with a woman he had just met and whose name he didn’t know.

“It was overwhelming, yes,” he responded.

“It was a shock. I was just going with the flow.”

The trial continues on Friday.

-AAP