Today Show producer Thomas Nicol on trial for rape

A lawyer for former Today Show producer Thomas Nicol has described him as “foolish” but innocent of raping a young woman.

Mr Nicol appeared at Sydney’s Downing Centre on Wednesday having pleaded not guilty to engaging in sexual intercourse without consent with a woman at his Bondi home last year.

Crown prosecutors allege Mr Nicol and the woman were drinking together as friends and doing cocaine on the night before the alleged rape took place.

During a closing statement to the jury, defence barrister Phillip Boulten SC told the jury his client was “foolish” for ending up where he did with the woman, whether it was consensual or not.

“She was vulnerable, frail young woman who had depended on him for emotional support,” he said.

However, Mr Boulten also pointed to the complainant’s fuzzy memory of the evening and the role of alcohol in the events to demonstrate his client’s innocence.

“[The complainant] was not a naive drinker. She was not coming to this rodeo for the first time,” Mr Boulten told the jury.

“We don’t actually need to be an expert pharmacologist to know if you drink more than three or four glasses of alcohol it can impair the way we think,” Mr Boulten continued to the jury.

“One way it can impair you is in decision making. It’s not uncommon for people to do things when they are affected by alcohol with their friends that they are entirely regretful of the next day.”

Mr Boulten also told the jury the complainant and her friend had attempted to “trick” Mr Nicol into confessing to a sexual assault via text message the morning after.

He described the tone of messages sent by the complainant to Mr Nicol on the day after he allegedly raped her as pretending to be “friendly”.

Earlier in the day, the court was told by prosecutor Emilija Beljic that Mr Nicol’s story about what had transpired between the two was inconsistent.

Mr Nicol initially told a friend of the complainant, who texted him the day after they had “hooked up” and “messed around” but that he did not ejaculate, the court heard.

After being pressed further, Mr Nicol said “maybe I did blow”.

Defence barrister Mr Boulten said Mr Nicol’s varying version of events did not equate to him being guilty.

“People lie for a range of reasons that don’t actually involve being guilty of a crime,” he said.

The jury is expected to adjourn for deliberation on a verdict from Thursday.

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