COURT: Judge Nicole Kefford presided over the case in the Warwick District Court.
COURT: Judge Nicole Kefford presided over the case in the Warwick District Court. Contributed

Bold racism claim, man accused of rape walks free

ON THE morning he was alleged to have raped a Warwick woman in her sleep, Darren Robert Nean strolled casually out of her house.

CCTV footage even showed him stopping to pick up cigarette butts from the ground.

Mr Nean walked free from the Warwick District Court yesterday after a jury found him not guilty of one charge of rape.

In his summing up before the jury's deliberation, defence barrister David Jones said his client's actions after the alleged incident on June 4, 2016 were inconsistent with guilt.

"That is somebody who was originally on the streets, just had sex, a comfortable night sleep and is walking outside without a care in the world," he said.

"The reason for that, members of the jury, is that he didn't rape her."

Before delivering a not-guilty verdict, the jury heard Mr Jones defended his client's decision not to take the stand.

"The reason I am talking about race is because there is a real undertone of that in this case," he said.

 

Warwick courthouse. 
Photo Kerri Burns-Taylor / Warwick Daily News
Warwick courthouse. Kerri Burns-Taylor

"Imagine coming up, sitting up there as an Aboriginal and having some bloke asking me questions with a wig like Captain Cook."

He went on to say the complainant was a "racist woman" and drew attention to the fact she had a period of "unexplained amnesia" lasting seven hours before the alleged attack.

Earlier in the trial, the complainant told the court she woke to find Mr Nean raping her in her own bed.

Crown prosecutor Stephen Muir said the minutes after the alleged rape felt like "the longest moment" of the woman's life, while she looked for a dressing gown to "cover herself up".

He said the complainant's story had been consistent across multiple accounts told to Warwick police officers and close friends.

But a jury of four men and eight woman did not find the Crown case sufficient to prove Mr Nean's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

After deliberating for less than 45 minutes yesterday afternoon, a not guilty verdict was returned.