An Australian court on Friday (28 July) convicted three men of raping their unconscious male friend with a beer bottle, despite the accused claiming that the act was meant as a prank.
The incident reportedly took place while the group was out for an Australia Day party in 2015 where the 19-year-old victim passed out. The friends were also accused of recording the alleged assault and sharing it on social media sites.
Following a four-day trial at the Brisbane District Court, a jury found Bailey Hayes-Gordon, Jacob Watson and Nicholas Jackson guilty of assaulting the victim. Jackson allegedly rolled the teenager over and restrained him by his feet, while Watson took video footage of the incident on his phone. Hayes-Gordon was treated as the principal offender for allegedly inserting the beer bottle, according to Australian Associated Press.
The court was earlier told that Hayes-Gordon had posted the video and screenshots of the incident on Facebook and mentioned it in several conversations.
"(The complainant) passed out so we stuck a bottle up his a*** and he just took it ... Funniest thing I've ever seen, legit," he reportedly wrote in one of the conversations.
However, Hayes-Gordon denied penetrating the victim with a bottle and claimed that his comments were an "over-exaggeration".
He insisted that the dynamic among his friends was "prankish" and they did not mean to hurt the friend. When asked by Crown Prosecutor Caroline Marco if his social media messages were a true account of the incident or if he changed his story after being charged, he said: "That's completely not true".
Watson and Jackson did not give evidence in the trial.
Frazer Eaton — a co-accused in the case — was handed a wholly suspended 18-month jail sentence in February after he pleaded guilty to holding the victim's shoulders during the assault.