Brandon Roche and Brooke Rolleston guilty of raping 15-year-old girl at party
A victim's mother wept as two men were found guilty of raping her 15-year-old daughter while she was drunk at a party.
Brooke Christie Rolleston, of Cashmere, and Brandon James Roche, of Papanui, both 20-year-old plasterers from Christchurch, were convicted of rape and sexual violation after a two-week Christchurch District Court trial.
The defence claimed the girl agreed to the threesome, but the Crown said the girl was too intoxicated to consent.
Her boyfriend had tried to sober her up by getting her to drink water, then tried to have her locked in her bedroom to protect her when his mother picked him up at midnight, the trial heard.
Roche and Rolleston took the girl from a bed, where she was asleep with two female friends, to another room where the rapes happened.
Afterwards, they left her alone in the room and went into the lounge for "high fives all round and laughter with their mates", the jury heard during the trial.
She emerged from the room naked from the waist down, had difficulty walking or talking and was sobbing and groaning. She vomited, was showered by friends and carried back to bed.
She had no memory of the attack.
SECURITY TIGHT FOR VERDICTS
The courtroom dissolved into gasps and tears as the jury delivered the guilty verdicts on Friday after about eight hours of deliberations.
Rolleston wept in a state of collapse against the side of the dock.
Roche took the verdicts more calmly, in a courtroom where there was a large presence of police, court safety officers and Corrections staff.
Both men were remanded in custody for sentencing in August.
The victim of the January 2016 rape was not in the court after giving her evidence in the early days of the trial last week.
Her mother was there and wept at the verdicts.
The rapists' supporters cried and called out "I love you" as they were led away to begin inevitable long jail terms.
Supporters of the girl and the young men were on different sides of the public seating.
Five police arrived and stood at the back and sides, three court safety officers stood near the public seating and two Corrections staff flanked the men in the dock.
A court attendant took a box of tissues to a jury member who was crying.
Judge Alistair Garland remanded the men for sentencing on August 2, though the date may be changed.
The judge asked for pre-sentence reports to be prepared and gave the men first strike warnings, which impose heavier sentences on repeat violent and sexual offenders.
The party was at the victim's home while her parents were overseas. A friend posted a party invitation on Facebook. The girl asked for it to be removed, but people were already arriving, including Rolleston and Roche.
The men claimed the threesome sex with the girl was consensual, but she told the court she was so drunk she had no memory of it.
Crown prosecutor Deirdre Elsmore said the men took advantage of a girl who was so drunk she had difficulty walking and talking and could not possibly have given consent for what happened.
The defence said it was evident from Facebook messages shown to the jury there was online flirting by the girl with one of the men in the months before the party. Witnesses said they saw her "grinding" against the men, Dirty Dancing-style and leading them to the bedroom, but the Crown said this evidence could not be trusted.
Before the jury came into court to deliver its verdicts, Judge Garland warned those in the public gallery to respect their decision.
Anyone behaving in a disruptive or disrespectful manner risked being held in contempt of court and placed in the cells.
He said: "Whatever their verdicts I know that some family, friends and support people of either the complainant or the defendants will not be pleased with the outcome."
After the verdicts, Judge Garland said the jury carried out "a stressful and unpleasant duty". He excused them from further jury service for five years.
Craig Ruane was defence counsel for Rolleston. Trudi Aickin and Ruth Harcourt were defence counsel for Roche.
The two men had denied charges of rape and sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. Two further violation charges were dropped during the trial.