A man has been found guilty of raping a woman to whom he gave a lift home after she was found lying on a footpath, intoxicated and alone, on Lygon Street in Carlton, in 2018.
A jury in the County Court in Melbourne on Friday found Harley Jarthur Palise, 30, guilty of two charges of raping the woman, who was vulnerable from the effects of alcohol or drugs, and found lying on the footpath after she was separated from her friend.
Palise, who had pleaded not guilty, and a friend were driving home together down Lygon Street in the city’s inner north after a night out at Crown Casino.
The victim, aged in her early 30s and newly engaged, had also been out in the city, and had taken a taxi with a friend to Lygon Street in search of food in the early hours of June 17, 2018.
Crown prosecutor John Dickie told the jury in his closing address that CCTV footage showed the two women, affected by drugs or alcohol or both, supporting each other as they walked.
The women had intended to go home together, but one crossed the road and fell asleep sitting up against a wall, while the other was found lying on the footpath near Grattan Street about 4.30am.
One man stopped to see if she was all right, before Palise’s friends also spotted her.
The friends, driving in another car in front of the vehicle Palise and his friend were in, stopped to see if she needed help.
One told the trial she looked unconscious, and after helping her up, they found she could walk a “little bit” but she was “all over the place”.
Palise lived near the woman, and they helped her into his car thinking she would get home safely.
Instead, Palise and his friend diverted into a residential street in Coburg, where the woman was repeatedly raped.
The men dropped her home and her fiance said she fell into bed, groaning and mumbling. The next day, she realised her jacket and engagement ring were missing.
The jury was told the woman has no memory of what occurred.
From the witness box, Palise, represented by barrister John Kelly, SC, had claimed she made advances towards him, and she did not appear to be affected by alcohol or drugs.
Parts of his account, Mr Dickie said in his closing address, were ridiculous.
The prosecutor’s case was that the woman was so affected by alcohol or drugs that she could not freely consent to sex.
Palise, who was on bail and was remanded in custody on Friday, will be sentenced at a later date.
With the verdict returned, it can also be revealed that the rape came months after Palise was released from prison. Palise was jailed for six months for kidnapping and using a carriage service to menace and harass, in crimes he pleaded guilty to against a former partner.
In 2013, Palise was convicted and fined for threatening to injure another former partner.
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