Jury finds man not guilty of rape

A man charged with raping a woman after he was involved in her kidnapping has been found not guilty by a jury.

John Martin, 20, had admitted a charge of kidnapping, but denied a charge of sexual violation in the High Court in Hamilton.

The woman was taken from Auckland to Hamilton in April 2012 where she was bound and gagged and locked in a shed.

The Crown said Martin and three others were paid to kidnap the woman because she owed a man in Auckland money and that Martin went into the shed and raped her.

But the defence said Martin and the woman were in a relationship and the sex happened before she was kidnapped and it was consensual.

Justice Toogood told jurors they must put to one side any sympathy or prejudice for the complainant because she was kidnapped and to concentrate only on the accusation of rape.

The jury of three women and nine men took about two hours to reach their verdict on Wednesday.

The judge remanded Martin in custody for sentencing on the kidnapping charge on 10 October.

Three other people were also charged with kidnapping the woman. One of them pleaded guilty but two others are awaiting trial.

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