The day before the rape trial began, the complainant’s deception came to light: she had rehearsed a script for a phone call to manipulate Gardner Dowling into making admissions to a rape that didn’t happen. In the interest of public debate on the subject of false rape claims, we publish in full BRENDEN HILL’s exclusive report in the Sunday Telegraph (11/2/2024) and ask what consequences follow for women making false claims of rape?
Rape charges against a Cranbrook old boy were dropped after he was tricked into giving his accuser a fake apology, which prosecutors then claimed was a confession. Gardner Dowling was charged after police secretly recorded a phone conversation he had with the woman, who accused him of raping, choking, and scratching her until she bled, during a tryst at her mother’s home in a wealthy part of Sydney in May 2021.
But prosecuting lawyers sensationally withdrew the charges on the day the Vaucluse man’s trial was scheduled to begin in the District Court. This came after Judge James Bennett SC ruled the bombshell phone call would be excluded as evidence because the woman manipulated Dowling into making a confession he did not believe was true.
The court heard the woman had also developed and rehearsed a script with another male friend, which she then used on the phone call made at Bondi Police Station on November 30, 2021. This came despite detectives warning the woman that what she said on the secretly recorded call could not be influenced by anyone else – even police.
During the call, Dowling repeatedly denied raping the woman and said he had not heard her ask him to stop, the Sydney District Court heard. But Judge Bennett told the court the woman ignored the denials and “used manipulative techniques to place undue pressure on (Dowling) to say something he didn’t believe.” The judge ruled that the woman held out “false assurances” to Dowling if he apologised and accepted her version of events that they could then “move on and resolve the issue without any consequences”.
Later in the call, the woman pressed the issue, became highly emotional, and said: “Can you just acknowledge that what you did was wrong?” Dowling replied: “Yes. It was wrong and I’m sorry”. Shortly after, the woman said: “Can you just say what you did to me? I just want to hear you say it. Please.” Dowling responded: “I’m sorry for keeping on going when you said stop.”
The court heard Dowling then called his current girlfriend, which was also recorded by police. In the call, Dowling said he went along with the woman’s requests in an attempt to ease her increasingly emotional state. “Like – any sane person would realise the only reason I’m apologising is to make her feel better,” Dowling said.
Judge Bennett told the court that Dowling gave the response to “assuage the complainant’s emotional state” and that he did not believe what he was saying.
Prior to making the call, the court heard the woman and a male friend developed and rehearsed a script. The friend said he would lie to Ginfluenced by any third parties. The friend was called to give evidence and Judge Bennett wrote in his judgment that he was “an unimpressive and evasive witness” who “tampered with evidence”.
Prosecutors did not include any of these details in the case outline and they emerged through cross-examination just before Dowling’s trial was set to begin. Dowling had been due to stand trial on one count of sexual intercourse without consent and two more of strangling the woman. But on October 23, Judge Bennett ruled the call between Dowling and the woman would be excluded as evidence. The trial was scheduled to start the next day.
But the Crown Prosecutor announced in court that the case was being discontinued.
There was no announcement as to what if any charges have been/would be laid against the fake rape claimant – or her accomplice. Unless serious legal consequences follow, unscrupulous women will continue to try and abuse the legal system to damage men unjustly. Should they be charged with ‘pervert the course of justice’? And if it goes to court and they give evidence, ‘perjury’?
– Andrew L. Urban