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Pizza worker denies raping teen in the back of brother's shop

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read

A married man tried to cover up having sex with a teenager in the back of a pizza shop but not because it was rape, a jury has heard.

Ricardo Audish has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual assault in company after the encounter with the 18-year-old woman in a pizzeria in southern Sydney in October 2016.

The Crown alleges that Audish, then 38, and two underage boys set upon the woman while she was asleep, and then sought to get their stories straight when she went to police.

The jury, sitting in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court, is expected to read translated transcripts of the males' intercepted phone calls, including one in which Audish allegedly asks a boy not to mention to police his name or the name of the "young one".

One boy, then 17, allegedly responded that he would tell the detective: "You were in the shop in the front, and we were in the back, just like we agreed."

A later call will show Audish demanded to know what the boys had told police "so we know what we are going to say", crown prosecutor Kate Nightingale said in her opening address.

Ricardo Audish arrives at Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney. Source: AAP
Ricardo Audish has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual assault in company. Source: AAP

Audish was also allegedly recorded airing his concerns about being photographed by the woman and her friend after coincidentally getting on the same train as them in December 2016.

The 17-year-old met the woman as she got off the train at Parramatta and accompanied her while allegedly trying to convince her to change her story.

"There were only two of us, you were so f***ed and you were asking for it," he allegedly told her.

The woman is due to tell the trial she told the boy she recalled Audish coming up behind her and touching her so "there were more than two of you".

When the boys and Audish were arrested and placed in a cell that had been bugged, the older man allegedly repeatedly accused the woman's boyfriend of having told the police what had gone on in the pizza shop.

"At one point (the boyfriend) said she doesn't know the story, no one knows what happened because she was asleep," Ms Nightingale said.

Audish was silent at this time but later piped up again because, the Crown alleges, he knew the woman was incapable of telling the police what occurred.

"Now you confirmed the case against us and you are with us," Audish allegedly told the boyfriend.

Ricardo Audish arrives at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney,  on March 2, 2021. Source: AAP
Ricardo Audish arrives at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney, on March 2, 2021. Source: AAP

The jury was asked to consider why Audish had been keen to hide his sexual encounter with the teenager.

Eugene Wasilenia said his client had had consensual sex in a back corridor of his brother's pizza shop when he was meant to be making pizza and bringing the dough home to feed his family.

"Telling lies is one of the fragilities of the human condition," the barrister said.

"At the time, he was a married man ... what do you think might have been going through his head?"

Audish, who'd engaged in general chit-chat with the woman and her boyfriend at the back of the shop during the night, had been taken aback when the boyfriend mentioned the woman wanted to have sex with Audish, Mr Wasilenia said.

But it was another in a series of arrangements the boyfriend had made for the woman to have sex with other people and himself leading up to the October 2016 incident, the jury was told.

The trial resumes on Monday.

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