An international student needed to clear his conscience when he confessed to his unsuspecting friend that he had raped her in her sleep at the Australian National University, a prosecutor alleges.
But Chavin Seneviratne, 24, denies the claim and is set to argue a series of messages he sent the woman were not meant to be taken seriously.
Mr Seneviratne, a Sri Lankan, appeared in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday for the start of the first jury trial to be conducted in the territory since before the recent lockdown.
He has pleaded not guilty to a principal charge of engaging in sexual intercourse without consent, and an alternative count of committing an act of indecency without consent.
Opening his case, Crown prosecutor Keegan Lee told jurors the accused and the alleged victim had met during a sort of bridging course when they started at the Australian National University.
They both lived on campus, and became close friends.
Mr Lee said the alleged victim, a Chinese woman, was sexually assaulted by someone other than Mr Seneviratne in April 2017.
He told jurors the alleged victim subsequently informed Mr Seneviratne about this, and one night between April and June that year she went to his room to "hang out" and seek comfort from him.
The prosecutor said the pair "talked gibberish to each other" and later engaged in some consensual sexual activity.
He told jurors they subsequently agreed to keep this to themselves, and "nothing really changed" between the pair for a while.
But years later, in January 2020, Mr Lee said a joking exchange over Facebook Messenger "turned into an opportunity for the accused to get something serious off his chest, and it led to his confession".
Mr Lee alleged that the 24-year-old confessed to having digitally penetrated his friend while she was asleep on his bed after the consensual activity.
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He said Mr Seneviratne wrote that "U came to me upset looking for some kindness and I took advantage", later adding that "I didn't really get consent".
The prosecutor told jurors the accused also apologised for being "a shitty friend", writing things including "U trust someone and they take advantage of yr emotional state".
Mr Lee said Mr Seneviratne had sent these messages to the alleged victim, who asked if he had drugged her, because he was "driven by a need to unburden himself and clear his conscience".
"The Crown case is that the messages ... amount to a confession," he told the jury.
Defence barrister Ken Archer declined the opportunity to give an opening address.
But Mr Lee said Mr Seneviratne had told police, during a recorded interview that would be played during the trial, that he was joking in the messages.
"He says the statement that he didn't get consent was a joke and that he probably meant to write that he did get consent, or that it was the product of autocorrect," the prosecutor said.
Mr Lee urged jurors to reject any such assertion.
"The Crown case is that the confession was genuine," he said.
The trial is expected to take four days.
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