ACT News

Men used social media app to abduct and rape woman at Belconnen

Ajitpal Singh.
Ajitpal Singh. Photo: Facebook

Two men have been found guilty of using a social media app to abduct and rape a woman in Canberra's north last year.

Ajitpal Singh, 31, and Randhir Singh, 21, were on Monday both found guilty by an ACT Supreme Court jury on charges of sexual assault, committing acts of indecency, unlawful confinement, and abduction.

But jurors found Randhir Singh not guilty on one count of committing an act of indecency on the victim.

Prosecutors withdrew one charge of committing an act of indecency against Ajitpal Singh during the five-day trial.

During the trial, the court heard Randhir Singh and the victim had met via social media application, Tango, on September 25, 2013.

The swapped sexual messages and agreed to meet at Kippax Fair Shopping Centre the next day.

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When the victim tried to back out of the meeting, Ajitpal Singh threatened her child and said he would show her husband the Tango messages.

Randhir Singh then drove the victim to Ajitpal Singh's Belconnen flat, forcing her to give him oral sex in a car, and unsuccessfully tried to have sex with her on the way.

In evidence, the woman said she pleaded with Randhir Singh to let her go, but was ignored and raped in a bedroom of the 14th floor flat.

During the assault, a third man, Jaskaran Sandu, 33, took two pictures of her with Ajitpal Singh's phone.

Ajitpal Singh then used the pictures to blackmail and rape her.

In closing, Crown prosecutor Margaret Jones said the men had hatched a "calculated and devious" plot to force the victim to have sex with them, exploiting her desperation and naivety.

Ms Jones said the woman blamed herself and in her mind, believed they were going to tell her husband about the sexual messages.

But defence barristers said the sex had been consensual and their clients denied threatening the victim.

Randhir Singh's counsel, James Sabharwal, said his client maintained the woman had been a willing participant, and had gone to Kippax for no other reason than to do what she promised in the Tango messages.

Theresa Warwick, representing Ajitpal Singh, said her client spoke to the woman because she was crying, deleted the photos, and asked her if she wanted to be taken home. 

Ms Warwick told the jury it was the woman who initiated the sex with Ajitpal Singh and that it had been consensual.

The court on Monday heard both men faced lengthy jail sentences and could expect to be deported to their native India upon release.

They will reappear for sentence later this month.