The woman fought back tears at times during her evidence as she described becoming resigned to the ongoing sexual assault after she’d earlier tried to resist and told the men to stop.
In his opening address to the jury, Crown Prosecutor David Scully said that after the alleged ordeal Mr de Belin asked if she could ”keep her mouth shut” before telling her to order an Uber for the trio so they could go to a bar.
“While in the Uber, Mr de Belin gave the complainant $50. He said ‘here is $50 for the Uber and to keep your mouth shut’,” Mr Scully said.
The woman said Mr de Belin was “the one in charge” and that she was trying to act tough following the incident but was scared for her safety.
Mr de Belin, 29, and Mr Sinclair, 23, have both pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault each, with their barristers telling the jury their clients maintained the episode was consensual group sex.
Mr de Belin’s lawyer David Campbell, SC, asked the jury to consider later in the trial whether Mr de Belin “was the sort of person who would go and do these horrible things”.
Mr Sinclair’s barrister Craig Smith, SC, said there was evidence both before and after the incident that was consistent with his client’s assertion that the activity was consensual.
“He’s 23, comes from a loving family: a mum and a dad, and three brothers. He’s never been in trouble before. He’s a person of good character.”
The court heard the woman was partying with the pair and others at a Wollongong nightclub, Mr Crown, late on December 8, where she had briefly kissed Mr Sinclair, before all three left early the following morning with two other men with the intention of going to another bar.
The woman said that when the other two men left she repeatedly told Mr de Belin and Mr Sinclair she wanted to go home but was persuaded to get in a bike-taxi with them to the bar.
She said she started feeling uneasy when Mr de Belin paid the driver $50 to take an unexpected route and took her phone out to start filming on Instagram. Mr de Belin told her “in an aggressive tone” to delete the footage or he would throw the phone away.
The jury heard that after leaving the vehicle Mr de Belin told the woman they were going to his place to charge their phones, and while wanting to stay outside the apartment, she eventually went inside to use the toilet.
The woman said that while she was using the toilet, Mr de Belin walked into the bathroom naked and got into the shower. She then went into the bedroom where Mr Sinclair was. Mr de Belin entered soon after, undoing her top and pushing her onto the bed, telling her to “show me your rack”.
Mr de Belin allegedly forced himself onto her and gripped her neck before telling Mr Sinclair to “come have a go”. The woman said that after Mr Sinclair had finished Mr de Belin continued having sex with her.
“When he was choking me I felt like I was going to pass out, that’s how hard he was choking me,” she said, adding that after the incident Mr de Belin asked her “why are you being so emotional?” as she cried in front of the pair.
The woman said that she fled the pair following the incident while they were all waiting in a line to enter another bar.
Mr Scully told the jury the woman sent messages and spoke to various friends and colleagues about what happened during the early hours of the morning and later that day before her manager encouraged her to go to police.
He said Mr Sinclair later found out the woman was making allegations, and messaged her through a friend’s Facebook account to say that “everything was consensual”.
“It was a good night,” he allegedly said.
Angus Thompson is an Urban Affairs reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.