Accused rapist says he was trying to help alleged victim
A HIGH-flying Cairns executive has defended allegations he raped a young backpacker in a motel room, claiming he was only trying to "help her" when he picked her up on the side of the road.
Ports North manager Alan George Vico, 54, pleaded not guilty to raping the 20-year-old Norwegian exchange student in September 2018 at the start of the two-day judge-only trial in the Cairns District Court.
The father-of-two's interview with police while they raided his Clifton Beach home was played to the court, during which he refused to answer any questions about any sexual interaction between the pair.
He claimed he was acting as a good Samaritan when he picked her up on Sheridan St in Cairns North and was worried she was on drugs and may have been sexually assaulted earlier in the evening.
"I picked up a young lady last night who looked like she might have been in some trouble," he said during the interview with police.
"I tried to understand if she was OK. She wasn't making much sense."
The court heard during the trial the woman had been out drinking with two friends during a short holiday to Cairns, but they became separated and she was helped to a taxi by a security guard concerned about her intoxication.
She instructed the taxi driver to drop her on Sheridan St, which was allegedly where Mr Vico collected her.
The woman alleged she had no memory from being in the Woolshed to waking up the next morning in an Earlville motel room, naked and alone with used condom wrappers found at the scene.
Police allegedly seized condoms from Mr Vico's wheelie bin during their search.
During his police interview he asked police several questions as to the woman's welfare after being told he was a suspect in a sexual assault.
"Is she OK? Is she bruised or battered in any way?" he said.
"The ultimate sexual assault is rape right? That's awful.
"Where were her friends last night I wonder. How did she get to be in that situation?"
He was also asked by police if he had done "something like this before" to which he replied "not exactly, no" before saying he had previously helped other people get home safely by paying for taxi or bus fares.
"I've never booked a hotel room for someone I've looked after, that's a first," he said.
Judge Julie Dick reserved her decision.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as 'I helped her': Cairns exec defends alleged backpacker rape claim