Rape-accused used 'elaborate modus operandi' on Facebook: prosecutors

Rape-accused used 'elaborate modus operandi' on Facebook: prosecutors

A young Canberra man has been found guilty of rape after using a fake Facebook profile in an elaborate fraud designed to trick a teenage boy into having sex with him.

A jury took little more than an hour to find Billy Tamawiwy, 23, guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and four other charges on Thursday.

On trial: Billy Tamawiwy has been fournd guilty of using a fake Facebook account to entice teenage boys into having sex with him.

On trial: Billy Tamawiwy has been fournd guilty of using a fake Facebook account to entice teenage boys into having sex with him.Credit:Facebook

Tamawiwy had targeted a number of teenage boys with the fake profile, and prosecutors said he had refined an "elaborate modus operandi" by the time he convinced one to have sex with him last year.

Tamawiwy used pictures of a woman he found on Google to set up a profile in the name of "Tayla Edwards", and struck up conversations on social media.


The Facebook chats soon became sexualised, and Tamawiwy tried to convince the teenagers to have sex with a man named "Christian", who was really Tamawiwy, luring them with the promise of sex with Ms Edwards and her friends.

The attempts, described by prosecutor Trent Hickey as an "elaborate deception" on Thursday, eventually worked on one boy, who agreed to the intercourse, which was also filmed.

"Over time, [the accused] was refining his method of luring young men to his unit, until he got it right with [the complainant]," Mr Hickey said.

The victim was reluctant, but drank significant amounts of vodka, described in court as "dutch courage", beforehand. Once it was done, he messaged Ms Edwards to arrange for the promised sex with her and her two friends.

He arranged to go to a unit on London Circuit, but noone answered the buzzer when he got there.

Tamawiwy, still posing as Ms Edwards, then messaged him "sucked in" with an image of the pair kissing during the intercourse the day earlier.

He then threatened to send explicit video and images of the encounter to the victim's family and friends, something he followed through on.

​Tamawiwy was charged with sexual intercourse without consent, because his lies and misrepresentations were said to negate the consent that the victim had given.

That issue of consent proved to be the crucial issue in the trial.

Defence barrister James Lawton argued the victim freely gave his consent on the promise of sex with Ms Edwards, rather than on any fraudulent representation of fact.

"A reward, if you like, was offered to [the complainant], which he enthusiastically pursued."

Mr Lawton argued that an unfulfilled promise did not negate the man's consent to the sex with Tamawiwy.

He likened it to a cheating husband promising his mistress that he'll leave his wife if they can have sex. If the woman gave consent, he argued, then it was not negated simply because the husband didn't follow through on his promise.

"Clearly the actions of my client were despicable," Mr Lawton told the jury.

"That does not mean... that we judge him morally."

"We may disapprove of what he's done, clearly. But that is not your task."

But the jury found against that argument, taking little time to hand down guilty verdicts on two charges of sexual intercourse without consent, one act of indecency, and three of using a carriage service to send offensive or harassing material.

Tamawiwy had already pleaded guilty to other offences at the start of the trial.

Mr Hickey, in his closing submission, said the defence has misconstrued what constitutes a "promise". He argued that a person must have the capacity and intention to deliver a promise, for it to be defined as such.

Tamawiwy, he said, had neither, because Ms Edwards never existed and was never able to give sex to the complainant.

"This wasn't a promise. This was a lie," Mr Hickey told the court.

The jury began their deliberations at 2.44pm, and reached a verdict just after 4pm.

Justice Richard Refshuage will sentence Tamawiwy at a later date. He remains behind bars at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

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