Threesome rape trial: Accused testifies that he believed bound, blindfolded victim consented

Threesome rape trial: Accused testifies that he believed bound, blindfolded victim consented

supreme court
The Supreme Court of Singapore.

SINGAPORE: A man accused of raping a bound, blindfolded woman in a threesome scenario testified in court on Friday (Nov 8) that he genuinely believed the victim had given her consent.

Srihari Mahendran, 23, told the court he believed that the boyfriend had gained his 25-year-old girlfriend's consent to have a threesome.

The prosecution had made the case that he had conspired with the boyfriend to have sex with the victim without her knowledge.

The victim and her boyfriend, who is serving a jail term for his involvement, cannot be named to protect her identity.

Srihari said he assumed that the details of the set-up - with the woman being blindfolded and tied up - were to fulfil "a particular fantasy" of the boyfriend.

He claimed that he felt "used" by the boyfriend and that they were not "partners" in the matter, as the boyfriend had testified earlier this week.

Srihari is contesting 10 charges including rape, sexual assault and molest, linked to two occasions of sexual activity with the couple in 2016.

A few minutes into the second encounter, the woman sensed something amiss and removed her eye mask. She later broke down when she realised someone else other than her boyfriend had touched her.

Both men were later arrested. While her boyfriend pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 19 years and 11 months' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, Srihari claimed trial.

I HAD NO DOUBT CONSENT WAS GIVEN: ACCUSED

Prompted by defence lawyer Trent Ng, Srihari told the court that he had "no doubt" consent was given by all parties involved.

He said he had offered a threesome to the victim's boyfriend with his own partner, but was turned down.

"When he extends an invite to me to meet him in a hotel to sleep with his girlfriend, someone he's been together with for a while, he would definitely have talked to her about it," said Srihari.

"Because when I extended my invitation, I talked to mine."

He had met the victim's boyfriend on Tumblr, as they both had sex-themed blogs. 

The victim also featured on her boyfriend’s public Tumblr blog, which was made up mostly of photos or videos uploaded by the boyfriend, claimed Srihari.

Asked why he had no doubts about the victim’s consent, Srihari said whenever he spoke to the boyfriend, they asked “whether the girl wants it”. “If the reply is - no I don’t think she would, the convo immediately dies,” said Srihari.

"It genuinely led me to believe that both of them talked this through," said Srihari. "He extended the invite to me, he would've gotten clearance from her, consent from her."

"DOUBTS GREW" AFTER SECOND INCIDENT 

However, doubt on whether she really consented started to "grow" after the second incident, he said.

Asked why the boyfriend had told Srihari to "sneak in after she sleeps" on Aug 7, 2016 at M Social Hotel, Srihari said he thought it was "a similar situation" to the first encounter at Hotel 81 in April that year.

"Sneaking in, avoiding any of the staff, any of the people working there, because clearly I had not paid for the room, (the) occupancy (was for) two people," he said.

When he arrived in the room, the woman was lying on the bed, with her arms tied loosely above her head and an eye mask around her eyes.

He removed his clothing and followed the boyfriend's gesture to perform a sex act on the woman before penetrating her.

However, in about a minute or so, the woman "started to move in a way that meant she didn't want to be in that position", said Srihari.

"She lifted her head and was trying to lift her arms up to remove the blindfold, but (her boyfriend) at that point gestured for me to get out, leave," said Srihari. 

He swept his arm in an angry motion and asked him to leave. Srihari did so, hearing a voice ask "who's that".

"I felt terrible. He asked me to leave suddenly, something apparently is going on, it begins to dawn upon me that this wasn't a sexual fantasy he wanted to share with me, but I was being used by him," he said.

He said he left in a panic, and "felt really bad".

The trial continues on Tuesday.

If found guilty of rape, Srihari faces a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine or caning.

Source: CNA/ll(hm)

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