Just when you thought you've heard it all....

Rape claim


April 21, 2006

A MAN who claims he mistakenly had sex with "the wrong woman" after entering a dark bedroom at the home of a Sydney magazine editor was yesterday committed to stand trial for rape.

Paul John Chappell, 31, was invited back to the editor's Bondi flat after they met during a night out.

The pair went to bed and Chappell later got up to use the bathroom.

But Chappell claims he mistakenly returned to the wrong bedroom, where the editor's 23-year-old flatmate was asleep.

He got into bed with the flatmate and initiated sex, allegedly believing she was the other woman.

The flatmate participated because she thought it was her own boyfriend who had come to bed after falling asleep in the loungeroom.

When she turned on the light, the "hysterical" woman saw Chappell in her bed and realised her boyfriend was still asleep on the couch.

Chappell intends to plead not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

"The defence case is he made a mistake," barrister Wayne Flynn told the Downing Centre Court Local yesterday. "He went into the wrong room and had sex with the wrong person.

"He thought he was having sex with the person he went home with.

"The (alleged victim) says she believed she was having sex with her boyfriend. She made a mistake as to who she was having sex with and so did the defendant."

In a statement to police on the morning of the incident on October 1, the alleged victim said she had gone to bed about 2am, leaving her drunk boyfriend asleep on the lounge.

"The next thing I remember was waking up to someone having sex with me," she said. "I assumed straight away that it was (my boyfriend) because I wouldn't even consider that it would be anyone else."

She also said: "When the light is out, it is black in our bedroom, you can't see anything."

To her dismay, she later turned on the light and realised it was Chappell, not her boyfriend, in the bed.

"I was totally gutted that it was him and not (my boyfriend)," she said. "I went straight into (my flatmate's) bedroom hysterical."

The screaming woman pushed Chappell out the front door shortly before her boyfriend woke up and was told what happened.

"(He) was so beside himself and enraged that he said he was going out to find (Chappell) and kill him," she said.

In her statement to police, the magazine editor said Chappell was "pretty drunk" when they arrived home and they went to her bed but she refused to have sex.

"He got up and went to the toilet," she said.

"After what seemed like five minutes I assumed he had passed out on the lounge or something, so I rolled over and went to sleep. The next thing I remember was (my flatmate) running into my room quite hysterical."

Magistrate Margaret Quinn committed Chappell to stand trial but said it "may well be a difficult case for the prosecution" to prove.

A date for Chappell's trial will be set next week.