A Dunedin man has been found guilty of using a secret sex tape to force a woman into range of depraved acts during a seven-hour ordeal.
The 39-year-old has spent the week on trial before the Dunedin District Court and last night, after three hours’ deliberation, a jury returned guilty verdicts on three charges of sexual conduct with consent induced by threats and one of attempted sexual violation, and not guilty verdicts on two of assaulting a female.
He had admitted a count of making an intimate visual recording at the trial’s opening.
The verdicts meant name suppression was ended by Judge Kevin Phillips and the man can now be named as Damien Lindsay Paisley.
He met his victim in mid-May last year after they matched on social media dating app Tinder.
They chatted online and after they met for a coffee, their conversations by text message became almost immediately more intimate.
That led to a video call during which both parties participated in sexual acts.
What the complainant did not know, however, was that the man had used an app on his phone to covertly record the exchange.
She described Paisley as seeming “quite charming”, but said things changed once he had the leverage of the sex tape.
Over the following days the pair chatted and the victim was unsure whether the man was joking about having the recording of their intimate video chat, which he repeatedly raised.
They continued to message and it became increasingly clear Paisley wanted the woman to come to his house.
If she did as he said, he would delete the video.
The defendant was too savvy to commit the threats to writing, instead coercing and “badgering” the victim during video calls.
On May 29, the woman agreed to visit Paisley’s Dunedin home.
Crown prosecutor Robin Bates told the jury it was obvious the victim was unsure about making the trip across town.
“It’s all too much … for me to handle. I’m going to stay in,” she messaged the defendant.
“These texts back up the reluctance of the complainant to go and the continuing pressure by the defendant,” Bates said.
After a nine-minute video call, she changed her mind.
The victim tried to stress she was only going to see Paisley to watch a movie, but he had other ideas.
She told the court that over the next seven hours he repeatedly raised the existence of the video to push her into performing sex acts for him.
Bates said the specificity of Paisley’s requests could not have been fabricated.
The victim was able to describe one particular episode where the man forced her into a degrading position while he watched a Hollywood actress on television.
The woman’s only fault, the prosecutor said, was that she was naive and trusting.
“Either he’s thought a lot about this or he’s done this before … It was like a game,” she told the court.
Counsel Anne Stevens QC argued the actions of the victim after leaving Paisley’s house in the early hours of the following morning were inconsistent with someone who had just been subjected to a lengthy and harrowing sexual ordeal.
In one message during her drive home she wrote “we misunderstood each other”, then they had another video chat for 18 minutes before she went to bed.
“Why on earth would she do that if what she said is true?” Mrs Stevens asked jurors.
“She didn’t even have to accept the call.”
But Bates had earlier told them to beware of misconceptions that commonly arose during such cases.
“There’s one rule and that is: there’s no rule to how people react,” he said.
Paisley was remanded in custody until his sentencing.
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