Luke Lazarus breaks silence over Kings Cross rape trial to criticise media | Australia news
Luke Lazarus, the man acquitted of raping 18-year-old Saxon Mullins outside of his father’s Kings Cross nightclub five years ago, has spoken publicly for the first time, saying he had been misrepresented by media reporting of the case and that he has “nothing to hide”.
Lazarus, 26, said he was “sorry” and “really remorseful”, but maintained it was “reasonable” for him to believe that Mullins had consented to having sex with him outside of the Soho nightclub in the early hours of 12 May 2013. Last week the ABC’s Four Corners program spoke to Mullins for the first time.
“I am really remorseful for what happened that night,” he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham in an interview on Thursday.
“I feel terrible for what she has been through [and] for the pain she has had to endure. It’s terrible, to hear she’s in that pain is really upsetting.
“My main feelings are feelings of sadness. Feeling like I’ve hurt someone. And it’s a really tough thing and it’s something I think of every single day. It’s something I certainly wish did not happen.”
In 2015 Lazarus was sentenced to at least three years’ jail over the alleged rape of Mullins, then 18 years old, on her first night out in Kings Cross.
His conviction was later quashed on appeal after Judge Robyn Tupman found the crown had “not established that there were no reasonable grounds for believing the complainant was not consenting”.
Mullins told the ABC she repeatedly told Lazarus that she wanted to go back to her friend.
“And he was like, ‘No, it’s fine’, and I went to move away and he kind of pulled me back and pulled my stockings and my underwear down. So, I pulled them back up and I said, ‘No I really have to go now’,” she told the ABC.
She explained the impact that the incident and years of legal action had on her life.
“I’m still here and I’m still doing it, even though it’s not happening anymore. I’m still living it,” she told the ABC.
“It got to be over for everybody else, there’s no other avenues, everyone’s done, everyone goes home, and then it’s just me.”
But Lazarus said the Four Corners program had “painted me as a guilty man getting away with a crime”.
“I always intended on staying silent on this,” he said. “However after Four Corners purposefully did not present the facts the way the judge found them I felt I had to come on and give my side of the story.
“They presented many things about the case that had been proven not to be true and they even got things totally wrong.”
Sometimes referring to Mullins as “the complainant”, Lazarus conceded that on that night in 2013 she had “said words to the effect of I should probably go see my friend” but that he had “convinced her to say” with him in the alleyway behind the nightclub.
“I don’t take [her words] as ‘I want to leave this right now I’m very uncomfortable’ or a ‘no’,” Lazarus said on Thursday.
“The judge found she said that, however I convinced her to stay and she showed she wanted to stay by resuming kissing after that.”
Lazarus said Mullins “didn’t use the word explicitly, ‘yes’” but that it was “a case of body language”.
“Her physical body language and everything she did physically told me she wanted to be there,” he said.
“I witnessed in front of me a woman participating in sex. So if I’m a man assessing a situation and I’m watching a woman not only consent but participate [then] then I’d ask you how is a man to know if a woman is not consenting if she’s participating.”
In the wake of the Four Corners program the New South Wales government announced it would conduct a review of the way sexual consent laws in the state operate.
Lazarus suggested he did not think an “enthusiastic yes” necessarily needed to be verbally communicated before sex.
“I think that whoever ends up making this decision will need to be very careful because obviously there will be many times when there is nothing spoken between two people,” he said.
“It might just be physical and then it might be hard to delineate between what is consent and what is enthusiastic consent.”
On the ABC, Mullins said she wanted to spark a debate about the notion of enthusiastic consent.
“Enthusiastic consent is really easy to determine, and I think if you don’t have that, then you’re not good to go,” she said.
“All you need to say is, ‘Do you want to be here?’ And very clearly, ‘Do you want to have sex with me?’
“And if it’s not an enthusiastic ‘yes’, then it’s not enough. If it’s not an enthusiastic ‘yes’, it’s a ‘no’. That’s it. And then, you’re committing a crime.
“Simple as that.”