Luke Lazarus has had advantages in his life. And he likely had a sense of overdue entitlement at Soho, the Kings Cross nightclub that his father owned and where he worked as a promoter.
But, continued defence barrister Phillip Boulten, SC, Mr Lazarus “is a young, decent fellow, never been in trouble before, studying, going about his life the way you expect a young fellow might”.
Mr Lazarus is accused of raping an 18-year-old woman, who was on her hands and knees, in a laneway behind his father’s club in the early hours of May 12, 2013.
In his closing address, Mr Boulten told the court that although Mr Lazarus may have been less inhibited after drinking alcohol throughout the evening, he did not force himself on the woman.
“This charge is an act of violence. It’s a despicable act of violence if it is what it is said to be and you would need to be very, very drunk to be so disinhibited as to go from someone who is not normally violent or sexually oppressive to be so in this instant,” Mr Boulten said.
“He was someone who was popular, he got on well with young women, better than most it seems, and their evidence about him suggest that he is not really the sort of person who would force himself upon someone even when he was sexually excited.”
The court has heard that Mr Lazarus, now 25, approached the woman on the nightclub dance floor and told her he was linked to the club before taking her to the VIP area and introducing her to the DJ.
He then asked her if she wanted to go somewhere more private before they left the club together and had sex in a dark gravel laneway. Soon after, Mr Lazarus asked the woman to write her name in the notes section of his phone, where he also kept a list of his “conquests”.
In her closing address, Crown prosecutor Cate Dodds told the court that Lazarus took advantage of the woman’s intoxicated state.
“She was an 18-year-old virgin, who had known this accused for a matter of minutes and who had engaged in consensual kissing and possibly body rubbing, but did not give consent to the anal intercourse that followed,” Ms Dodds said.
But Mr Boulten told the NSW District Court on Thursday that the woman may have been drinking but not so much that she did not know what she was doing.
“She was though, we say, intoxicated enough to be uncharacteristically acting out on sexual urges. She was an active participant in what might be described as intimate acts,” Mr Boulten said.
“She probably wouldn’t have done if she had not had alcohol and was not in a club at Kings Cross at 4’o clock in the morning but that does not mean that the alcohol was such as to overbear her will.”
Mr Lazarus was found guilty by a jury of raping the woman and was sentenced to a maximum of five years’ jail in 2015 but his conviction was quashed and a retrial ordered last year.
Judge Robyn Tupman?????? has now retired to consider her verdict.