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An electrician has broken down in court and hugged one of his lawyers after being found not guilty of raping a teenage girl he had met through a dating app. An ACT Supreme Court jury on Friday acquitted Hayden Smedley, 21, of engaging in sexual intercourse without consent. It took jurors less than three-and-a-half hours of deliberations to reach the verdict. Mr Smedley fought back tears following the decision as he shook hands with defence barrister James Sabharwal and hugged solicitor Rachel Bird. The 21-year-old had been on trial since Tuesday, when Crown prosecutor Keegan Lee told the jury Mr Smedley had what was initially consensual sex with a 17-year-old girl in April last year. Mr Lee said the pair had met through Bumble and agreed in subsequent Snapchat messages to “bang” at the accused’s townhouse in Gungahlin. He alleged Mr Smedley had continued to have sex with the girl against her wishes after she withdrew consent partway through the encounter. But Mr Smedley denied those claims, saying everything that happened between he and the girl was consensual. The court heard he had made unusual comments during the encounter, including words to the effect of “if you enjoy it, it’s not rape.” Another apparent remark was along the lines of: “You’re not going to like it. That’s why it’s called rape.” The jury was also told, however, that Mr Smedley had merely been “trying to joke around”. After the verdict was delivered on Friday afternoon, Mr Sabharwal said outside court that his client was thankful to have received a fair trial. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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