14 Nov 2013

Lawyer defends rape case argument

4:21 pm on 14 November 2013

A defence lawyer who said a rape victim could have "closed her legs" if she didn't want to have sex says his statement has been taken out of context and does not represent his views.

Wellington lawyer Keith Jeffries made the comment during his closing address at a trial in the Wellington District Court in which a bouncer was accused of raping a woman in an alleyway.

Mr Jeffries says the woman, who was drunk, had walked hand in hand with the accused man up an alley and he argued that the sex that took place was consensual.

Mr Jeffries says what he said in court was part of his client's defence - and if it had been deemed improper, the judge would have reprimanded him. He says there was no complaint from the Crown solicitor either.

A jury found Mr Jeffries' client guilty.

The manager of Rape Crisis in Wellington says the comment was disgusting, highly offensive and part of a rape culture in New Zealand in which excuses are made for perpetrators of sexual offending.

Natalie Gousmett says the current discussion in the community about the issue of rape (regarding a teenage sex ring in Auckland), is a good thing as education is the best way to change attitudes.