The criminal past of a man who raped an intoxicated woman with a friend after they found her lying on an iconic Melbourne street has been revealed in court.
A man who raped a vulnerable woman with his mate after they found her slumped on a footpath in Melbourne’s iconic Lygon St had only been out of jail for four months.
Harley Palise was found guilty of two counts of rape after a trial and faced the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday for a pre-sentence hearing.
The 30-year-old appeared via video link in court where it was revealed he had only been out of prison for four months for kidnapping a former partner when he raped the woman.
The tradie and his friend, Jarrod Thomas, who can now be named after a gag order was revoked, picked up the intoxicated woman after they spotted her lying on the footpath on Lygon St, Carlton in June 2018.
They had been out with other friends at Crown casino when they stopped to check on the woman who was lying on the ground about 4.30am.
The plan was to take her home since Palise lived nearby.
Instead it was found that they drove to a residential street in Coburg where she was repeatedly raped during a 15-minute period.
The woman was so affected by drugs and alcohol she doesn’t remember what happened.
Palise and Thomas dropped their victim home with her underwear around her ankles.
“I felt violated, uneasy and reluctant to leave the house,” the woman said in a statement read to court.
She dealt with anxiety, depression and “extreme anger and frustration” for not being able to remember what happened the night of the incident.
“I was unable to find any joy in my days,” she said.
During the trial Palise took to the stand and told jurors the woman initiated sex when she got in the car.
But Judge Scott Johns said he found it difficult to accept much of what Palise said in the witness box.
He labelled the victim as a “vulnerable, helpless individual” who was under their power.
“She’s helpless, she’s in a stranger’s car hoping to get a lift home or not even having an awareness about all of that,” Judge Johns said.
Prosecutor John Dickie said it was concerning there was a “degree of victim blaming” and Palise’s claim the woman seduced him “defies belief”.
“The two men … saw (the victim) as something they could use for their own pleasure,” Mr Dickie told the court.
Defence lawyer John Kelly said it was an opportunistic and unsophisticated crime, his client was expecting his second child to be born later this month and had undertaken courses while on remand.
Palise was jailed for six months in 2017 for kidnapping a woman after a relationship breakdown and his mother “rescued” her, the court was told.
His co-accused Thomas was sentenced to six years and six months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of rape in June 2020.
Palise will return to court next month for sentence.