Guilty verdict in Andrew Dadley rape case an ‘affront to logic’, appeal court hears | Ralph Lauren

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A woman who was allegedly raped by a former top firefighter could have dreamt she was being sexually assaulted and woken up believing it had really happened, a court has heard.

A barrister for Andrew Thomas Dadley told the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Wednesday the woman’s credibility was in question and the jury’s verdict — finding Dadley guilty of one alleged rape, but not guilty of another moments earlier — was an “affront to logic”.

Dadley was found guilty in July 2020 of raping and indecently assaulting the woman at her home after a Christmas party in 2016.

She told the trial she woke in a bedroom with Dadley on top of her and his penis in her vagina before he “scooped” her up, moved her to a second bedroom, and assaulted her again.

The 12 jurors found Dadley guilty of the second alleged rape, but acquitted him of the first. He is now fighting the convictions, arguing the jury verdicts were inconsistent and should not stand.

Downing Centre
Camera IconAndrew Dadley’s barrister questioned the credibility of his accuser at an appeal hearing on Wednesday. NCA NewsWire / Steven Saphore Credit: News Corp Australia

An appeal hearing on Wednesday homed in on the credibility of Dadley’s accuser, who told the jury she believed the alleged rape was a dream at first.

“I honestly felt like it was a dream,” she said at trial in prerecorded evidence. “I felt like I was watching myself in a movie.”

“Like I would just wake up and it wouldn’t be real.”

Dadley’s barrister Matthew Johnston said it was possible the woman was in fact dreaming the entire time up until the point she said she realised “it was real”, kicked Dadley off her, and frogmarched him outside.

“It may well be that this was a dream and that she perceived the entire circumstance,” he said.

The barrister said it made no sense for the jury to reject the woman’s story about the assault in the first bedroom, but believe her about the second.

He said the woman’s evidence was that in the second room Dadley “got back on top of me and started again … he started having sex with me again”.

The jury had accepted “a portion of that statement, but not accepted another part of the same statement”, Mr Johnston said.

“Having not accepted the first count occurred, this is where we say is the affront to logic and unreasonableness that goes to the heart of this matter.”

Crown prosecutor Brett Hatfield said the jury’s not guilty verdict on the first alleged rape was explained by the woman’s own evidence of being mostly asleep when it occurred.

“She remained more or less asleep, although conscious to some extent of what was happening to her,” he said.

The prosecutor said her frequent references to thinking she was dreaming explained the not guilty verdict on the first alleged rape, as opposed to the second, for which “she woke up and became very alert”.

Andrew Dadley Court
Camera IconThe reliability of DNA evidence used at trial has also been questioned. John Grainger Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Johnston also said a witness at the woman’s home contradicted the woman’s evidence that Dadley was naked from the waist down when she marched him outside.

The witness, Adam Richards, said Dadley was wearing pants, the court heard.

Mr Hatfield said the woman’s credibility did not turn on her ability to recall that detail.

Justice Andrew Bell said Mr Richards had also testified he heard Dadley asking the woman “Why are you upset? Why are you hitting me?” just after the alleged rapes.

“What do we make of it?” the judge asked Mr Hatfield, who suggested Dadley’s comments had been “self-serving”.

Justice Bell appeared sceptical, describing the words as “spontaneous” and pointing out Mr Richards had heard them from a different room where he had been sleeping on the couch.

“How would it be self-serving?” the judge asked. “I can understand statements maybe later in the day being subject to that potential criticism.”

The reliability of DNA evidence used at the trial was also questioned, with Mr Johnston underscoring no semen was found on the woman’s underpants or swabs taken from her vagina.

The trial focused on Yfiler samples found in swabs from the low and high parts of the vaginal canal, which matched Dadley’s profile but also included matches for other male cells.

Dadley argued at trial the DNA match could have been the result of secondary transfer and was not proof of sexual intercourse.

Mr Johnston said the DNA sample found was “microscopic” and had to be enhanced in order to be properly analysed.

“Because it was such a small quantity, because it wasn’t semen … it doesn’t ultimate assist in relation as to whether it was through primary or secondary transfer” he said.

Covid-19 had proven how even best practice sometimes can’t prevent the spread of particles, Mr Johnston said.

Mr Hatfield said expert evidence had suggested a “very low risk” of secondary transfer for the DNA, particularly in relation to the high swab.

The prosecutor was quizzed on evidence from a forensic biologist who said the “hostile environment” of the vagina worked quickly to expel foreign DNA and it could only survive there for about 12 hours.

The vaginal swabs were taken from the woman 17 hours after the alleged rapes, the court heard.

“A larger amount could have degraded to a smaller amount,” Mr Hatfield said, insisting this did not diminish the value of the DNA evidence.

The appeal judgment will be handed down at a later date.



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