Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Police Rape Plaintiff too drunk to stand

Police rape plaintiff too drunk to stand
By Nicola Boyes

The woman who has made historical rape allegations against a high-ranking Waikato police officer says she was so drunk she could not stand up when he came into her room. The woman worked at Rotorua police station when the alleged rape happened in February 1984, at a birthday party.

Giving evidence in the High Court at Hamilton yesterday, the woman said she had been drinking the whole night and after becoming so intoxicated she fell over a couch, she went to bed. "I was standing at the end of my bed, that's the foot end and [he] was in my room," the woman told Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk. She said she fell onto her bed and the next thing she felt was the man, who has interim name suppression, on top of her, then him having sex with her and she passed out. "Whether I passed out through too much alcohol or went to sleep, I wasn't awake," she said. Her flatmate gave evidence that as she was walking past the woman's room she saw her trying to push a man out of her room. "I can see [her] in her room just inside the door of her room pushing someone away," her flatmate said.

The woman told defence counsel Philip Morgan, QC, when police investigating the alleged rape contacted her, she did not want to discuss the party or remember. The complainant described to the court a culture in the police at the time she worked in Rotorua. She said of 120 staff at the station there were only five female officers. She and her colleagues would drink at the police bar on Wednesday, their pay-day, or Fridays. They ran "Sunday Schools", getting off their shift at 5am on a Sunday and starting a drinking session either at the station or at somebody's house. She said there was an expectation that everyone from the section would attend and they would play drinking games. "We would generally drink until drunk, it wasn't uncommon to drive home drunk in the early 80's, I don't think there was such a stigma about drink driving."

The night of the party at her flat she said she was "very very drunk". She said a traffic officer she was interested in was at the party, but after he followed her around like a "lap dog" she had punched his face. The traffic officer, Tom Bowater, also gave evidence yesterday. He told the court he had no recollection of the party. He told investigating police last year that the woman looked familiar though he did not recollect being punched. It was not until last year, police investigating the woman's allegations, showed him a picture of the woman, that he said and she looked familiar. but he did not know why. He did not recollect being punched. The trial before Justice Rodney Hansen is to continue until Friday.