Retrial clears NSW man of nightclub rape

Rebekah Ison
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Retrial clears NSW man of nightclub rape

A Sydney man has been cleared of raping a teenager behind his father's Kings Cross nightclub despite a retrial judge finding the victim wasn't consenting "in her own mind".

Luke Andrew Lazarus, now 25, spent 11 months in jail before his conviction for anally raping an 18-year-old woman in an alleyway near Soho nightclub in May 2013 was quashed last year.

Mr Lazarus exhaled, put his head back and hugged his crying mother on Thursday as retrial judge Robyn Tupman found he reasonably believed the teenager, who told him she was a virgin, was consenting.

The woman, who can't be named for legal reasons, left the court immediately after the decision.

"The evidence does establish beyond reasonable doubt that the complainant (the woman) in her own mind did not consent," Judge Tupman said before acquitting Lazarus in a Sydney District Court on Thursday.

"I accept ... the accused had a genuine ... belief the complainant was consenting."

The judge-alone trial heard Mr Lazarus had met the woman on the dance floor, where he told her he was involved with the ownership of the nightclub and offered to introduce her to the DJ in the VIP area.

Judge Tupman found Mr Lazarus had tried to have vaginal intercourse with the woman before making a comment about her being "tight".

"What do you expect, I'm a f***ing virgin," the teenager told him, before Lazarus likely replied "s*** really" and asked the woman to get on her hands and knees.

She found the woman's evidence that she said "stop" was unreliable partially on the basis she was wrong about other parts of the night.

Judge Tupman deemed Mr Lazarus to be of good character and said she was entitled to use it to assess whether his account was credible.

After the act, Mr Lazarus asked the woman to add her name to a "trophy list" of women he kept in his phone, which she did because she didn't want to make a "fuss".

The Crown had tried to argue the woman, who had consumed around 10 standard drinks, was too drunk to consent.

Judge Tupman said there was no evidence her walking was impaired and found she was not "substantially" intoxicated.

During the trial, prosecutor Cate Dodds asked Mr Lazarus why he didn't take the clearly upset woman to a hotel, back to his granny flat in Vaucluse or book her a taxi home after they had sex, to which he replied: "I agree I was not a gentleman."

A female promoter for the club told the retrial he was a "nice guy" and she had been "shocked" by the allegation.

Mr Lazarus' first conviction was overturned after the Court of Criminal Appeal found a judge had misdirected a jury.