Bongiorno rape trial a question of consent

A SEXUAL assault trial being heard in Grafton District Court will ultimately come down to a question of consent.

That was the basis of opening submissions heard yesterday in the case of Sydney man Alessandro Bongiorno, whose fate is now in the hands of the seven men and five women making up the trial's jury.

The jury was empanelled on Monday to decide whether Bongiorno is guilty of four charges including common assault, assault with an act of indecency, attempted sexual intercourse without consent, and sexual intercourse without consent.

All charges relate to an alleged incident which took place in a car at Bom Bom, south of Grafton, on June 2, 2014.

In the Crown's opening statement, it was heard that on the day of the alleged offences Mr Bongiorno travelled from Grafton to Coffs Harbour to pick up a woman from the airport, following her return from an overseas holiday to Bali.

During the drive back to Grafton, it is alleged by the crown that an argument broke out between the pair, which resulted in Mr Bongiorno pulling the Holden Barina into a back lane on the side of the Pacific Hwy.

From there, it is alleged by the Crown that he pulled the complainant into the back seat of the vehicle and forced himself on her, saying he wanted to f*** her "one last time".

It is alleged he then committed acts of assault and of penetration without her consent.

On their return to Grafton, the complainant told a family member what had happened and the matter was reported to police.

Borngiorno's defence counsel indicated their case would be based on a view that all sexual acts which took place between the pair were consensual, and that an argument broke out in the vehicle only after they had resumed their journey to Grafton.

"I do wish to make it perfectly clear at the outset on behalf of Mr Bongiorno, that he is not guilty of these allegations," the defence barrister said. old the jury.

The trial is expected to last for seven days.

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