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Leigh man's six-year jail term for raping woman upheld by appeal court
Updated 5:54pm Tuesday 11th March 2014 in News
A LEIGH man, jailed for raping a woman while she lay asleep on a sofa, can have no complaint about his conviction, judges have ruled.
Graham Rawsthorn, aged 48, had sex with his victim under a duvet as she lay unconscious but denied any wrongdoing when she woke up.
Rawsthorn, of Beech Walk, Pennington, was jailed for six years at Liverpool Crown Court in February last year after he was convicted of rape by a jury.
Three of the country's most senior judges at London's Appeal Court rejected a conviction challenge by Rawsthorn today, Tuesday, dismissing claims he did not receive a fair trial.
Rawsthorn's lawyers argued that the conviction should be overturned because the trial judge inadequately summed up the case and prejudiced the jury by highlighting certain aspects of the prosecution's case.
Mr Justice Silber, sitting with Lady Justice Sharp and Judge Peter Lakin, said: "In our view, there was nothing wrong whatsoever with the way the judge dealt with this.
"Read as a whole, there was nothing objectionable in the summing up. For these reasons, this application must be dismissed."
Mr Justice Silber said the victim had nodded off while watching a film on a couch when Rawsthorn "took advantage off her while she was asleep", pulling her trousers off, touching her genitals and having sex with her.
When she later came to, the victim took a photograph of herself with her mobile phone "in a state of undress" and accused Rawsthorn of raping her.
She left the property where the attack took place and called 999.
Rawsthorn was arrested and insisted the intercourse was entirely consensual and initiated by the victim. He asserted that she had massaged his genitals with her foot while they sat on the couch, but was disbelieved by jurors.