News State NSW News Luke Lazarus says he was ‘painted as a guilty man’ in sexual consent debate

Luke Lazarus says he was ‘painted as a guilty man’ in sexual consent debate

saxon mullins
Saxon Mullins appeared on ABC's Four Corners program earlier this month. Photo: ABC/ Four Corners
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The man cleared of anal rape in a Kings Cross alley behind his father’s nightclub says he has been portrayed “as a guilty man getting away with a crime”.

Luke Lazarus appeared on 2GB radio Ben Fordham’s program on Thursday afternoon to respond to the ABC Four Corners interview with his accuser, Saxon Mullins.

“I always intended on staying silent on this,” Mr Lazarus, now 26, told the broadcaster.

“However, after Four Corners purposefully did not represent the facts the way that the judge found them, I felt that I had to come on and give my side of the story.

“Overall they painted me as a guilty man getting away with a crime.”

He had been invited onto the ABC program prior to its broadcast, Four Corners said at the time.

Ms Mullins alleged she was anally raped as an 18-year-old virgin by Mr Lazarus, then 21, in an alley behind Soho nightclub in Sydney’s party district in May 2013.

luke lazarus
Luke Lazarus’ conviction was overturned and he was acquitted on re-trial. Photo: AAP

The incident resulted in two high-profile trials and two appeals. Mr Lazarus spent 11 months in jail, before his conviction was overturned.

Judge Robyn Tupman found Mr Lazarus had no reasonable basis for believing Ms Mullins was not consenting, even though she had not consented in her own mind.

He was not surprised people viewed him as “scum”, despite the acquittal, because media publications were “trying their best to get clicks” and “make headlines”.

The Four Corners interview prompted the New South Wales government to announce a review of the state’s consent laws.

“I think that whoever ends up making this decision will need to just be very careful because obviously there will be many times when there is nothing spoken between two people,” Mr Lazarus said.

“It might just be physical and then it might be hard to delineate between what is consent and what is enthusiastic consent.”

He said he thought about the incident every day and was sorry for the hurt his accuser had been through.

Saxon Mullins was offered a right of reply prior to the interview being aired, Mr Fordham said.

NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman announced a review of the state’s consent laws after the Four Corners feature earlier this month.

He said there was a “systemic problem” with the handling of sexual assault allegations, and the case raised questions about whether the law was adequate, clear and fair.

The Law Reform Commission review will consider the Kings Cross trials, which centred on whether Mr Lazarus knew she was not consenting – instead of whether she consented.