Rape: One jailed, one free
A PACKED courtroom gallery clapped, cheered and shed tears of joy as Harrison Chuck Norris Lynch was found not guilty of raping a 23-year-old Biloela woman.
It took the jury hearing the trial less than an hour to hand down the verdict in Rockhampton District Court yesterday morning following a three-day trial.
It was a different scene yesterday afternoon when his co-accused Graham Noel Gulf was sentenced to five years' jail after pleading guilty to the same charges.
In his opening address on Friday, Crown prosecutor Tony Lou- don told the court the two men met the complainant at a Rockhampton pub and were invited back to her hotel room.
He said the woman had intended to have sex with Lynch but not with Gulf and that he was asked to leave.
Mr Loudon said Gulf instead convinced Lynch to "double'' the victim and alleged the pair "swapped around a couple of times and took turns (with the victim)''.
Gulf pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one of indecent assault last week ahead of Lynch's trial for the same charges.
Mr Loudon yesterday told the court Gulf's criminal record included convictions for previous sexual offences.
He said that on one previous occasion Gulf broke into three houses in a Biloela Street, got into bed with young girls and asked them for sex.
Judge Julie Dick told Gulf his actions had dehumanised and degraded the victim.
She resisted prosecution calls for an eight-year jail term, instead sentencing him to five years and ordering he be eligible for release after 18 months.