Prosecutors say man drugged woman in attempt to rape her
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Prosecutors say man drugged woman in attempt to rape her

Prosecutors say a man spiked the drink of a woman he met on a "sugar daddy" website in an attempt to rape her in a Canberra hotel.

The Gold Coast woman had turned to seekingarrangement.com in a moment of desperation, having left her job after being bullied and sexually harassed. "I was quite scared I was going to be homeless, because I wasn't able to pay my rent and I was unable to feed myself," she told the court from a remote witness room.

She explained how the website worked to connect "sugar daddies" and "sugar babies" and said though people did offer sexual favours in this situation it was not the only form the relationship took. She had been clear on her profile she was looking for companionship.

The accused, Juswan Mokmargana, 46, contacted the woman, 25, over the site and they began talking in March 2016, she told the court.

He flew her to Sydney for a day trip, where she said they ate yum cha in Chinatown and got to know each other. They had talked about travel, dreams, aspirations, family and friends.

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She had wanted to travel and see more of Australia.

He kept asking her why she was on the website.

"I definitely said to him that I'm not there to offer sexual favours to anyone," she said, "he couldn't quite fathom why I was there."

A week later Mr Mokmargana invited the woman to Canberra for an overnight stay at a hotel on what he said was a work trip for him.

He told her work had only paid for one hotel room, and one bed.

He had asked her if she was comfortable with that, and she had replied, "as long as you keep your hands to yourself," she said.

She told the court he laughed, but "seemed to respect my wishes".

On arrival in Canberra on April 9, the woman and Mr Mokmargana visited Parliament House before checking into the hotel room.

After getting ready separately they headed out for the night.

It's in a Civic bar that prosectors allege the NSW man spiked the woman's drink with sleeping drug Stilnox in an attempt to rape her.

The accused has pleaded not guilty and denied the one charge on the indictment, of attempted sexual intercourse without consent.

In her opening remarks on Tuesday, prosecutor Emilija Beljic urged the jury to look closely at surveillance footage and at the man's demeanour before and after it's alleged he spiked her drink.

She pointed to the condoms, Stilnox and viagra found by police when they searched his possessions later that evening.

"What do the items in that suitcase indicate?" she asked.

She suggested the man knew the woman would not consent and had gone beyond planning a rape. When he spiked the drink "he has put that plan into effect."

On cross-examination by defence barrister James Stewart, the witness agreed the footage showed Mr Mokmargana playing with her glass, and that he was also drinking from that same glass.

Mr Stewart asked her whether she was already feeling the effects of the some eight standard drinks she had already consumed before that point. "Yes, but not to a large degree," she answered.

Presiding judge Michael Elkaim of the ACT Supreme Court reminded the jury not to talk about the evidence they had seen and heard on Tuesday, before sending them home for the day.

The trial continues.

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times

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