Australia

John Jarratt says rape accuser 'seduced' him into sex

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Actor John Jarratt has told a jury he had consensual sex in 1976 after being seduced by a housemate who now alleges the Wolf Creek star raped her.

Actor John Jarratt has told a jury he was seduced into having consensual sex with a Sydney housemate who 40 years later accused the Wolf Creek star of raping her.

The 66-year-old has pleaded not guilty to raping the woman in 1976 at the Sydney house they shared with his wife, Rosa Miano, and at least one other person.

The woman, who went to police in 2017, has testified she was woken about 3am when Jarratt ripped off her bed covers and underwear, unzipped his fly, pinned her down, covered her mouth with his hand and raped her.

Giving evidence in the NSW District Court on Thursday, the actor said he arrived home about 10.30 pm after a meeting with a director, went to the bathroom and walked towards the room he shared with his wife.

John Jarratt arrives at the Downing Centre Local Court.
John Jarratt arrives at the Downing Centre Local Court.
AAP

But he then heard loud whispering from the housemate who beckoned him into her bedroom.

Jarratt said he agreed when the woman told him "it must be exciting making movies".

She went on to say she'd recognised him, when she first came for the housemate interview, as the actor from Picnic at Hanging Rock.

"She found me attractive and, from there, there was, I feel, a seduction," the actor said.

"I, unfortunately, participated in that. I willingly had sex with her and she willingly had sex with me. It was consensual."

The housemate testified that she could smell alcohol on his breath but Jarratt said he didn't drink that night as he was driving.

"I never drink and drive, all my life."

Under questioning from his barrister Greg James QC, Jarratt said after the encounter there was no further intimacy or any animosity between them.

John Jarratt on set.
John Jarratt on the set of one of his most famous roles in the Wolf Creek franchise.
AAP

About seven years later in a "truth session", he told his wife he had a one-night stand with the woman.

The first he heard of any rape allegation was when his agent rang him in November 2017, saying there was going to be a newspaper story.

Under cross-examination from prosecutor John Bowers, Jarratt agreed he had not used the word "seduction" in the detailed statement he read to police in 2018.

"These sorts of situations are spontaneous. Someone has got to lead," he told the jury.

The actor denied deliberately changing his account of how the sexual intercourse came about.

Mr Bowers said it did not happen as a result of any seduction initiated by the woman, but because Jarratt forced himself on her after going into her room with no warning, when she was asleep, ripping her clothes off and pinning her down.

"I didn't rape her. What you are describing is fantasy to me," Jarratt said.

Actor Cassandra Magrath told the jury she had played a woman who was tortured and murdered by Jarratt's character in the movie Wolf Creek.

Their roles had been very intense, she trusted him and he never behaved inappropriately, she said.

"He expressed to me his disgust and horror at that particular type of behaviour towards anybody and his grief for the parents of people who had gone through similar things to what we were performing in the film."

Actor Chris Haywood testified that Jarratt was held in high esteem in the industry, was regarded as honest and seemed to have the morals of the generation before him.

The trial continues.

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