Orchestra horn player found not guilty of rape charge
Former Sydney Symphony Orchestra principal horn player Benjamin Lawrence Jacks has been found not guilty by a jury of sexual assault.
The 47-year-old was accused of digitally penetrating a sleeping woman, who cannot be named.
The pair had been out for dinner and drinks in December 2020 to celebrate their respective separations from their partners.
The alleged incident occurred the next morning.
Jurors retired to consider the verdict on Wednesday after a two-week trial in the NSW District Court.
They returned a not guilty verdict on Thursday afternoon.
Defence barrister Philip Strickland SC told the jury the woman was awake and gave instructions to Mr Jacks which he understood as consent.
Crown prosecutor Rossi Kotsis said text messages between the pair afterwards were "powerful admissions of rape", while Mr Strickland said they could be read in a variety of ways.
"I can't believe I woke up with your hands inside me??? Not very cool friend!! I had just spewed my guts up in your garden and was so drunk I could barely tell you my own name," the woman wrote in one.
Mr Jacks responded: "My god, I'm really sorry ... I hope you forgive me".
Four women who gave evidence spoke with "one voice", suggesting Mr Jacks had a "passive personality" and was quick to apologise for things that were not necessarily his fault, Mr Strickland submitted.
His sister said he would "tie himself in knots" to avoid conflict.