Last month, 25-year-old Luke Lazarus was acquitted of raping a teenage girl outside a popular Sydney nightclub in 2013.
Now, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has lodged an appeal against the decision to acquit Lazarus, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
“On May 4, 2017, Luke Andrew Lazarus was acquitted on a charge of sexual intercourse without consent in a trial by judge alone at the District Court at Sydney. Yesterday, I lodged an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal against the acquittal,” DPP Lloyd Babb said in a statement today.
Lazarus was initially found guilty of the rape of the 18-year-old girl behind Soho nightclub, owned by his father, in Kings Cross.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Lazarus was sentenced to at least three years jail in 2015—and served 11 months of the sentence—but his conviction was quashed on appeal.
During his trial, the court had heard that Lazarus had walked up to the girl on the dance floor and told her he was a part-owner in the venue. He had allegedly offered to take her to the VIP section of the club to introduce her to the DJ. Lazarus then took the teenager to the alleyway behind the nightclub, the court heard.
The woman gave evidence that she had wanted to return to her friend and that Lazarus said, "no, stay", before they eventually had sex, reports ABC. However, Lazarus asserted that he believed the woman had consented to sex.
Following the acquittal, the girl spoke of her heartbreak in a Facebook post.
"The reality is this doesn't get to be over for me. I don't get to know who I would be today had this not happened to me, and I mourn for that person. She seemed like she was on her way to being great,” she wrote.
"At times like this when I'm feeling shitty, and down, and so so so tired, I remember that for every dickhead human there are a million more filled with love, light and kindness and that lifts my heavy heart."
If you need to talk to someone about experiencing sexual assault or rape, please contact 1800 Respect.