Yachtsman denies raping, drugging woman on vessel

Supreme and District courts of Queensland
Supreme and District courts of Queensland

A QUEENSLAND yachtsman has emphatically told a jury that he did not drug and rape a woman in the late 90s aboard his vessel while it was moored at a marina.

John Collins, 76, pleaded not guilty on Monday in the Brisbane District Court to three sexual assault offences and a rape charge stemming from his interactions with the woman between December 1, 1999 and February 1, 2000.

He claims the encounters with the woman, who cannot be identified, were consensual.

Crown Prosecutor David Nardone told the court the then 19-year-old woman had answered an advertisement in the paper seeking the services of a young woman to help look after a small child while travelling the high seas.

He said it was made out to sound like an adventure of a lifetime.

"She contacted the advertiser and he told her they would be sailing up the Queensland coast and around the Whitsundays," he said.

"She thought it was an ideal job, but it was anything but ideal."

Mr Nardone said the woman met with Collins on two occasions before accepting the position.

He said her life changed forever after the first night aboard Collins' yacht.

"They had a few drinks and a bite to eat on the yacht to get too know each other," he said.

"About 10.45pm she started to feel tired and asked to have a shower and she was directed to the shower adjacent to the main cabin."

Mr Nardone said Collins followed her to the shower where he offered to shave her bikini line.

He said the woman declined Collins' offer.

"He pinned her down on the bed, plugged in some electric clippers and shaved her pubic region," he said.

"He then told her to have another shower before sexually assaulting her on the bed in the main cabin.

"After sexually assaulting her, he raped her."

Mr Nardone said several months later police searched the yacht after the woman reported the incident.

He said police located several items the woman described would be on the yacht, including the electric clippers.

"A forensic test conducted on hair found on the clippers returned a positive DNA match to the woman," he said.

"It collaborates and supports the story the woman told police."

Defence barrister Callan Cassidy told the jury the woman had changed her version of events numerous times over the years.

He urged the jury to pay particular attention to the woman's behaviour in the hours after the incident and the following day.

"She had every opportunity to leave, she had a mobile phone and there were numerous occasions when she could have left when Collins was not aboard the yacht or near the marina," he said.

"You will also hear that she went shopping with Collins the following day then had dinner with the man she says raped her."

The trial continues.


Topics:  crime drug justice rape yacht

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