Judge says rapist 'honestly believed' woman was consenting

A MAN has been jailed for raping a woman who was too drunk to consent after meeting her a Mackay nightclub.

Cameron Noel Joseph Fitch, now 25, pleaded guilty this week in the District Court in Mackay to rape on December 10, 2011. Crown prosecutor Brendan White said the man had not been "detected" by police until 2014.

At 3am, Fitch, then 21, went to a nightclub and met the complainant, a woman who was about 21 years old.

Mr White said they drank together, "socialised" and kissed.

The woman, her female friend, Fitch and his male friend ordered a taxi and returned to the woman's home. Fitch and his friend helped the women inside and Fitch took the complainant to her room.

Mr White said she was then raped without contraceptives. He said the rape had affected the woman significantly - affecting her self-esteem, confidence and causing anxiety.

Defence barrister John Jacob said Fitch's actions had been a "great misjudgement" rather than "predatory behaviour".

Judge Reid accepted Mr Jacob's submission that Fitch had mistakenly believed there had been consent, as both had been drinking "to excess" and there had been "some romantic attachment" between Fitch and the woman prior to the rape.

He said it was clear that the woman, in her intoxicated state, was well beyond being able to give consent.

Fitch was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. The sentence will be suspended after 12 months.

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