The Sydney man at the centre of a high-profile sexual assault case has cautioned against major changes to consent laws.
Luke Lazarus was found not guilty of sexually assaulting Saxon Mullins, then 18, in an alleyway behind his father’s Kings Cross nightclub in 2013 after two trials and two appeals.
The judge in his second trial found that while Ms Mullins, in her own mind, did not consent, Mr Lazarus had a “genuine and honest belief” she was consenting.
Ms Mullins has always maintained it was rape and spoke to the ABC’s Four Corners program earlier this month in the hope of prompting a discussion about consent.
“No-one dreams of their first time being in an alleyway with someone whose name they can’t even remember — no-one wants that,” she told the program.
The New South Wales Government has since referred the state’s consent laws to the Law Reform Commission for review, with some pushing for the introduction of “enthusiastic consent” provisions.
Speaking on Sydney radio station 2GB, Mr Lazarus maintained his innocence and said any legislative changes would need to be carefully thought through.
“I think that whoever ends up making this decision will need to just be very careful,” he said.
“Because obviously there will be many times when there is nothing spoken between two people, it might just be physical and then it might be hard to delineate between what is consent and what is enthusiastic consent.
“So I think just a bit of care needs to be taken if the laws do change.”
Mr Lazarus said he was sorry for what had happened and that he thought about it every day.
“I think this whole night’s regrettable. At the end of the day I’ve been found innocent, it’s been found that my belief that she was consenting was a reasonable one,” he said.
“I’m really remorseful for what happened that night. I feel terrible for what she’s been through, for the pain that she has had to endure.”
Four Corners has previously said the Lazarus family declined its repeated invitations to participate in the program.