Man in custody for two years on rape charge cleared in one hour by Whangārei jury

The Paparoa Hotel was a location that featured in the trial of Kaipara man Barney Mackie. Photo / Supplied

WARNING: This story deals with sexual violence and may be upsetting.

A man who has spent two years in custody awaiting trial after being accused of giving a woman drugs and then raping her in a car has been found not guilty by a jury in less than one hour.

Kaipara man Barney Mackie was charged with one count of rape and one of administering ecstasy following an alleged incident in Paparoa in 2021.

The 51-year-old defended the charges before a jury of five women and six men in the Whangārei District Court this week.


Advertise with NZME.

Crown prosecutor Sam Wimsett told the court Mackie and the complainant were not known to each other and had met in Ruakākā through their mutual friend, Shayla Billis, on July 31, 2021. They all headed to the Matakohe Holiday Park after Mackie gave Billis money for a room.

Wimsett alleged Mackie had met up with the pair for sex. But Mackie denied this and said he had only helped Billis who he believed was at risk of harm.

Referring to a series of text messages between Mackie and Billis, Wimsett said the communication did not reflect a person concerned for the safety of another.

“The whole afternoon was about sex, and you eventually got it,” Wimsett alleged.


Advertise with NZME.

Wimsett alleged that while the three socialised in a cabin at the holiday park, Mackie gave the complainant ecstasy on a butter knife. This was also denied by the defendant.

The jury was told that after a discussion between the three about who would go to buy alcohol, it was decided Mackie and the complainant would go.

Wimsett alleged that during the trip Mackie pulled the car over and raped the woman.

But defence lawyer Arthur Fairley argued the alleged rape never occurred and the complainant was never in his client’s vehicle.

The trial was heard in the Whāngarei District Court. Photo / File
The trial was heard in the Whāngarei District Court. Photo / File

“At no stage did this complainant get into Mr Mackie’s car. At no stage did Mr Mackie take this complainant. At no stage did he detour and take her off, she was never in the car full-stop,” Fairley submitted.

Crown witness Dr Gabriel Montgomery examined the complainant two days after the alleged sexual assault occurred and said in evidence yellow bruising was found on the woman’s lower back. However, it could not be verified how long the bruising may have been there.

The owner of Matakohe Holiday park said she remembered two females turning up at the park with a “chunky” Māori man.

When identifying the females in a photo lineup, she incorrectly picked the wrong women and could not confirm whether the male she had seen was Mackie.

Detective Joshua Lautogo told the court the passenger side of Mackie’s car was examined for prints but no DNA evidence was discovered for either the complainant or Mackie.

When the complainant’s underwear was returned from forensic examination, the DNA matched both Billis and another male but not the DNA of Mackie.


Advertise with NZME.

Mackie elected to take the stand and in giving evidence said he had never met the complainant before the day of the alleged incident and had only met up with the women because Billis said she needed help.

He said he met them in Ruakākā, gave them $200 and then followed them to Paparoa to check them into Matakohe Holiday Park so they had a place to stay.

Mackie said after dropping them off, he went home and then returned to the Paparoa pub later on to meet another friend.

There, he saw the complainant and described her as being “wasted”. She was “screaming” in the car park at a man in a car who Mackie identified as Billis’s boyfriend, Mitchell, Mackie claimed.

He said there was an argument occurring where the complainant was being accused by Billis of sleeping with Mitchell.

After Mackie’s arrest, he hired private investigator Mike Sabin to research the people associated with the case and pulled up a number of independent witnesses who were called.


Advertise with NZME.

Defence witness Jake Gent, a sentenced prisoner, told the court he knew the complainant for 10 years and claimed that on the morning of the alleged assault she, along with her boyfriend, Billis and Mitchell, were at his house taking drugs and drinking.

He claimed to have been present when the complainant told her mother-in-law she had been raped, but went on to allege that on another date he overheard her say she hadn’t been raped and was instead having sex for money.

Prosecutor Sam Wimsett challenged Gent’s reliability given he was arrested 10 days after the alleged rape for assaulting and kidnapping the complainant and her partner, an assault he is currently serving time for. The court did not hear why Gent assaulted the complainant.

“You’re making up stories, and have taken the opportunity to get back at the complainant and lie,” Wimsett said in an accusation put to Gent.

In closing, Wimsett urged the jury to consider the pattern of texts he alleged indicated Mackie was looking for sex and the consistency of the complainant’s story.

“These are not a series of texts of a high-risk situation because people are in physical danger. Those text messages are more consistent with the complainant’s narrative


Advertise with NZME.

“Never mind there’s no DNA … she was consistent in going to the Drs, to being interviewed by police and coming to trial. She had many opportunities to pull out.”

Wimsett said for “a good samaritan” who was supposedly genuinely concerned with the welfare of Billis, Mackie had stopped all communications after the evening of the alleged incident.

“No more contact between Billis, no messages, just silence, no contact at all. Was that because of what he had done and the need to stay away?” Wimsett put to the jury.

Fairley’s closing targeted what he called a flawed investigation of police and the “signposts of inconsistencies” including the underwear, of which four stories were given.

“They [the Crown] haven’t even bothered to talk to Mitchell, they haven’t even bothered to talk to Billis. We don’t have Billis here to say anything because no one bothered to talk to her.

“The signposts point to what Mr Mackie is saying. The prosecution is caught in a trap of a flawed investigation.


Advertise with NZME.

“When the police came back to the complainant to question her about another man’s DNA on the underwear, she changed her story on the location of the underwear four times. You have to know the significance of the underwear, science is against her story. Wrong man. Wrong car.”

The jury took an hour to return not guilty verdicts in the case. Mackie was subsequently freed.


Where to get help:

If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:

• Call 0800 044 334

• Text 4334

• Email

• For more info or to web chat visit

Alternatively contact your local police station – click here for a list.

If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it’s not your fault.


Where to get help:

If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

• If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on 0800 044 334 or text 4334. (available 24/7)

Male Survivors Aotearoa offers a range of confidential support at centres across New Zealand – find your closest one here.

Mosaic – Tiaki Tangata: 0800 94 22 94 (available 11am-8pm)

• Alternatively contact your local police station – click here for a list.

If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.

Source link

Leave a Reply