Former firm manager in court accused of rape

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Former Arnold Bloch Leibler manager Dale Cooney faced court yesterday, accused of raping a colleague back in 2001.

Yesterday, the County Court heard that he showed the woman a newspaper headline containing the word ‘sorry’ in the days following. 

Conney is accused of raping the woman in her bed in the early hours of the morning, after she declined his invitation to meet the previous night.  He pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape, his lawyer telling the court that the issue of consent was in dispute.

According to a report by The Age, Chief Crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert QC told the jury Cooney range the woman three times on the night of July 13 2001, while she was out with friends, asking to meet him.  She declined and turned her phone off but woke up at 1.32am the next day to a loud banging and saw that Cooney was outside.

She opened the door, he pulled her outside and went inside, closing the door behind him, before opening it moments later, smiling and told her to go back to bed.  He then raped her on her bed after she told him: “please don’t do this.  You are going to regret it”, the court heard.

Prosecutors allege that he bit the woman and pulled out clumps of her hair during the attack and afterwards kissed her on the cheek and told her he was going back to a nightclub, leaving at 1.42am.  He then phoned her the following Monday and said, “that was hysterical, I hope you’re on the pill”.

In a later meeting, Cooney showed her the front page of that day’s Herald Sun which carried the headline “I am sorry”.  Prosecutors argue that that action was an admission of his wrongdoing.

When the woman contacted police over the incident in 2014, a covert recording was made where the woman told the accused she felt tortured.  He responded by saying he was sorry she felt that way.

The woman reported the rape to the firm, which investigated but she did not tell police over fears she would be sacked.  Cooney resigned around five weeks after.

Defense Counsel Peter Morrissey said that there is no question Conney was at her home and that the pair had intercourse but asked the jury not to rush to a judgement to see if the woman had a tendency to exaggerate things.

The trial continues.

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