A former Australian Army recruit accused of raping a colleague says it was an “absolute relief” to have been acquitted of all charges.
Alemeseged Dubael maintained his innocence throughout his District Court trial, facing two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of indecent assault.
It was alleged Dubael, 26, attacked a female recruit in a Kapooka laundry on May 25 last year.
Dubael thanked his barrister as he addressed the media on Thursday.
“It's taken a lot out of us I’ll be honest – my kids have been sitting outside the courtroom waiting for dad to come home,” Mr Dubael said.
“It is a relief, yes indeed.”
Dubael’s partner sat in the public gallery with her head down, taking deep breaths as she waited for the jury to hand down its verdict.
She began to weep as the court heard the jury state “not guilty” to all charges.
After a loving embrace with his partner, Dubael left the courtroom smiling, hand-in-hand with one of his children.
On Wednesday, final submissions in the two week trial were heard from Crown solicitor Virginia Morgan and barrister Joanne Gallagher.
Judge Gordon Lerve also provided his final remarks on Wednesday before the jury were sent to deliberate.
Six men and six women deliberated for just over two hours before handing down their verdict.
Defence counsel Joanne Gallagher told the jury to ensure they were convinced beyond reasonable doubt before reaching a verdict, as the burden of proof rested on the Crown.
Ms Gallagher referred to witnesses who had given evidence during the case, including Dabael’s sister, his neighbour, his partner and boss.
“Is he the person they described?” she asked of the jury.
“He (Dubael) told you he has a loving, stable union with his partner.
“It shows the sort of person he is, someone with a couple of kids – just a normal bloke who isn’t aggressive or violent.”
Ms Gallagher told the jury the Crown was alleging a “massive brain snap”.
Crown solicitor Virginia Morgan reminded the jury of two witnesses who testified that they saw the alleged victim crying minutes after the alleged assault, with her hair looking “messy and untidy”.
“She was telling them things in bits and pieces and didn’t want to do anything about it,” Ms Morgan said.
“That is not the behaviour of someone who has made a fabrication. What motive did she have to make trouble?”
The trial included a trip to the Kapooka army base, where the jury was shown the area relating to the alleged incident.
Dubael left the army in August last year.