Members of a jury have been asked to set their “repulsion” aside when deciding whether a volunteer bus driver is guilty of raping a vulnerable young woman.
Robert Day has denied raping a woman in her late teens at Balmedie Beach on November 24, 2016.
The 72-year-old admits having sex with the alleged victim in his Skoda Octavia car, in his role with a community bus charity, while taking her from a psychiatric appointment in Aberdeen to the Aberdeenshire children’s home where she lived.
Prosecutors allege that the woman, who has been diagnosed as having learning difficulties, was “incapable of giving consent, by reason of mental disorder”.
But Day, who lives on Chapelhill Place in Ellon, has entered a defence of “reasonable belief” – insisting he understood that she was able to consent and “seduced” him.
Advocate Depute, Stephen McCloy, led the prosecution case and yesterday compelled jurors at the High Court in Aberdeen to find the retired offshore worker guilty of rape – and of “abducting” the teenager by taking her to the beach “against her will”.
Mr McCloy listed various factors which he claimed showed that the accused was aware of the alleged victim’s “vulnerability”.
He said: “Due to her mental disorder she was unable to consent, the overall scores for her intellectual function were extremely low.
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“She was raped and sexually assaulted, she was a very vulnerable girl who required a driver to keep her safe and Robert Day did not do that.”
Defence advocate, David Moggach, urged the jury of eight women and seven men not to allow their feelings about the age difference between the accused and the alleged victim to influence their decision.
He said: “Base your verdict solely on the evidence and nothing else.
“This is not a court of morals, whatever you think of a 70-year-old man having sex with a woman in her late teens.
“You might find it repulsive, you might find it absolutely appalling, but that is not a crime.”
Mr Moggach added that the woman involved “could come across as more able than she actually was”.
He quoted a medical report where it was stated that it would be “easy to overestimate the alleged victim’s understanding of what is being said”.
Consultant child psychotherapist, Annie Baikie, previously described the woman involved as “a very vulnerable girl” whose problems were “obvious”.
Lord Mulholland will address the jury today before sending them out to deliberate the verdict.