A woman who was allegedly coerced into sex acts said matching with the man on Tinder was not an indication of her consent.
A 39-year-old man, who has name suppression until the verdict, is on trial before the Dunedin District Court charged with three counts of sexual conduct with consent induced by threats, two of assaulting a female and one of attempted sexual violation.
After he met the woman on dating app Tinder in May last year, the pair soon moved from messaging online to meeting for a coffee.
Within hours of that encounter, they began exchanging sexually explicit text messages which culminated in a video chat that saw both parties perform sexual acts.
Unbeknown to the complainant, the man had an app that recorded the exchange and he pleaded guilty to making an intimate visual recording at the trial’s outset.
What happened in the days following was hotly disputed.
The complainant told the jury the man used the existence of the sex tape to effectively blackmail her into bending to his sexual will.
Yesterday she was cross-examined by Anne Stevens QC.
“Tinder is about hooking up for sex, isn’t it?” she asked.
“I don’t agree. Some people use it for that, but not everyone does,” the complainant said.
The jury was taken through numerous messages the two shared before the alleged offending and Stevens suggested it was clear the graphic sexual content was done to titillate her client.
The complainant spoke about her most private experiences and the defendant admitted making a sex tape with a vegetable.
The woman asked if he still had it.
“You were trying to convey you’re a very sexual person,” Stevens said.
“It’s still not consent,” the witness replied.
The lawyer pointed to one specific exchange where the defendant quizzed the complainant on how far she would go with him physically.
“Pash me tomorrow?” he said.
“Yes,” she said.
“One day we sleep together?”
“Yes or no?”
“If you want … Pass, come back to that another day.”
Stevens said there was no reference to the alleged blackmail in the messages they shared in the days leading up to May 29 last year.
The complainant told the court that was because the man made the threats only during their video chats.
She said he was “clever” and knew not to commit it to writing.
The woman repeatedly became upset while answering questions and there were frequent breaks to allow her to compose herself.
If the defendant was so threatening and made her uncomfortable with his explicit requests during video chats, why did the complainant not hang up or block him online, Stevens asked.
“If I was to do it again I would block him, but I got caught up in it,” she said.
The woman rejected all assertions that she had lied about the forced sex acts at the defendant’s home.
“I have no reason to make this up … what could I possibly gain from this,” she said.
The trial, before Judge Kevin Phillips and a jury of seven men five women, is scheduled to end this week.
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