ACT News

Canberra man acquitted of choking and threatening to kill his partner after birthday party celebration

A Canberra man has been acquitted of choking and threatening to kill his partner.

But David Christopher Laipato must wait overnight to hear the outcome of an assault charge.

An ACT Supreme Court jury deliberated for much of Thursday before finding Laipato, 27, not guilty of choking the woman insensible and threatening to kill her in a Civic flat on February 17 last year.

The pair were celebrating a friend's birthday at the unit when they argued about 2am.

The prosecution alleged Laipato pinned the woman to a bed, choked her insensible and threatened to kill her.

Laipato was arrested outside the building by police a short time later.


During the trial, the alleged victim backflipped on the statement she gave to the police and told the court she had invented the allegations because had she thought Laipato had cheated on her.

She said he had not choked or threatened her and had merely pushed her her away from him after she shoved his face a number of times.

The woman, under cross-examination, told the court she had contacted both the police and prosecution in an unsuccessful bid to withdraw the allegations.

But Crown prosecutor Sam McLaughlin, told jurors the woman's evidence from the witness stand had not been credible and had been motivated to change her story in order to continue her relationship with Laipato.

He urged jurors to instead base their decision on the story she told to police, paramedics, her father and a doctor in the 48 hours after the alleged attack.

Defence lawyer, Paul Edmonds, argued the jury could not convict his client based on the evidence of a woman who had lied.

Chief Justice Helen Murrell thanked jurors for their services during the "interesting" trial before sending them home.

Chief Justice Murrell was then asked to make a decision on a backup charge of assault against Laipato.

The judge said it would be difficult to makeĀ  a finding of guilt after the jury had acquitted the defendant.

Chief Justice Murrell granted Laipato bail and listed the matter for discussion on Friday.