The rape trial of a Northern police officer has heard the accused was spoken to by a colleague about his relationship with the alleged victim, before allegations “inappropriate behavior” were raised.
- Patrick Carson has pleaded not guilty to two charges of sexual intercourse without consent
- The trial has been closed to the public and media for much of the first week
- Mr Carson is charged with assaulting a young woman he befriended in 2020
Patrick Carson has pleaded not guilty to two charges of sexual intercourse without consent, relating to two alleged incidents with a young woman he had befriended in 2020.
His Barrister told the jury at the beginning of the trial that the defense case would be that there was “no sexual intercourse of any description” on either of the two occasions.
However, she said there was no dispute that the accused and complainant had been alone together at times.
The trial, which began last week, has been closed to the public and media until today.
In a statement read to the court, an acquaintance and colleague of Mr Carson, who also knew the alleged telling victim, said he recalled Mr Carson to “be careful” and not “do anything stupid”.
The witness cannot be identified to protect the alleged victim’s identity.
“I just had a feeling [the complainant] may be a bit infatuated with him and I did not want him to end up in a situation which might be difficult to explain to his wife,” the statement read.
“Patrick did say he was helping her out because she did not get along with her parents.
“He assured me that it was innocent [and] that he was just being a little bit protective of her, as she was pretty immature and lacked a significant degree of confidence.”
The court heard that Mr Carson was called to meet with a colleague and another friend, outside of a policing context, when allegations of “inappropriate behavior” were raised.
The statement said that Mr Carson had been shown a series of screenshots of messages he had felt the complainant and that he had then admitted to having a “little bit” of a crush on her.
“He stated he had lost a substantial amount of weight, that a young female had shown him some attention,” the witness statement said.
“He assured us that nothing was happening, and he was embarrassed we had been informed of the situation.”
The court heard Mr Carson had also said that his wife had spoken to him, and that he had been reducing the amount of time he spent with the alleged victim.
Court hears of alleged assault in backyard
Earlier, the jury heard from two friends of the alleged victim, who also cannot be identified, who told the court the complainant had raised concerns about Mr Carson’s alleged behavior with them.
The first witness told the court she had suggested the complainant keep a record of her communications with Mr Carson “to protect herself if anything were to happen”.
The court heard the alleged victim had told the witness that Mr Carson had “stripped” [her] off” and assaulted her in his backyard during the massage.
She described her friend as being “pretty hysterical” and “kind of panicky” when they spoke on the phone after the alleged incident in May 2020.
The court heard the complainant had told the witness she thought Mr Carson “just didn’t realize what he was doing” and that she had nodded when he “kept asking if it was okay” during the massage.
The witness said she had received a SnapChat photo from the alleged victim on July 8 2020, depicting Mr Carson’s hand on her leg.
She told the jury: “It was captioned something like ‘he’s here and I don’t know what to do’ or something like that”.
The court heard the alleged victim asked the witness to ring her and “fake an emergency”.
Under cross examination by Mr Carson’s Barrister, Mary Chalmers SC, the witness agreed that she had previously described her friend as someone who “tends to exaggerate a lot”.
“Do you remember that she was under investigation asked at some stage in college?,” Ms Chalmers SC.
“Yes,” the witness said.
“And it’s in the context of that [investigation] you told them she tends to exaggerate a lot?”
‘It sounded like she’d been crying’
Another friend of the alleged victim, who told the court she was also acquainted with Mr Carson, said the complainant had called her in the evening of July 8 2020 “really distressed”, after they left the complainant and Mr Carson together at a house in Darwin earlier that day.
“I couldn’t really get many words out of her … it sounded like she’d been crying,” the witness said.
The court heard the witness had gone to the house to meet the victim, where she told her alleged that “Paddy had been over, and they had been sitting on the couch.”
The witness said that the complainant had told her “Paddy” had “intended to go to sleep” and “put his hand in her shirt”.
The witness told the court the complainant was “pretty frazzled and stressed” when she received a text message from “Paddy” to say that he was returning to the house to drop off food for her.
“She said she didn’t want to see him … we turned off all the lights and went into the back bedroom of the house,” the witness said.
The trial continues on Monday.