Sydney man cleared of rape but found guilty of choking during sex


A Sydney man accused of ignoring a safe word during consensual sex has been cleared of rape but found guilty of choking with recklessness.

Leigh James Pattinson faced a judge-alone trial in the New South Wales district court on nine charges relating to the 2019 incident.

Judge Mark Buscombe found him guilty last week of intentionally choking the woman with recklessness.

But Pattinson was acquitted of seven counts of aggravated sexual assault causing actual bodily harm and of an incitement sex charge.

He will face a sentence hearing on the choking charge on 27 May.

Pattinson was accused of violently raping the woman despite her pleas to stop and cries of pain.

The prosecutor alleged that what started as consensual sex descended into rape.

But Pattinson’s lawyer said the pair’s relationship was not “vanilla” and was founded on bondage and sadomasochism.

While the elements of the night may seem “amoral” to some, the pair had negotiated and agreed on what was to take place.

“In such relationships there’s a degree of role playing … words such as ‘ow’, ‘stop’, ‘you’re hurting me’ could all be seen as pillow talk,” he said.

The main issue for the judge to consider was the use of their safe word – Leigh, the accused’s name – to stop what was happening.

“Even on the complainant’s case, the safe word was never used until the end,” the barrister said.

“It is irrelevant whether she said ‘stop’, ‘ow’, ‘you’re hurting me’.

“The safe word was Leigh.”

But the prosecutor said the complainant would give evidence that when asked to stop during previous trysts, Pattinson had done so without her needing to say it.

Her multiple demands to stop were ignored in the 2019 incident, she said.

Pattinson continued to have sex with the woman, who was at one point “choked out”, regaining consciousness to find her couch and legs covered in blood.

Throughout the interaction the woman cried and repeatedly yelled “stop” and “ow”, and at different points tried to push herself away from Pattinson and attempted to resist the sex acts, the prosecutor alleged.

He was so rough she wasn’t able to breathe and vomited on herself, the prosecutor said, before she said: “Leigh, enough.”

He allegedly responded, saying: “Well maybe you have had enough.”

Days later the woman went to the hospital, presenting with bruising on her thighs, genitals, neck and breasts, and bleeding in her eye caused by a burst blood vessel.



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