Accused Woonona rape duo out on bail

Nicholson Park
Nicholson Park

Two teens accused of simultaneously raping a drunk 15-year-old girl at Woonona have been released on bail on condition they not step foot in the suburb. 

Dion Rizzo and Tristian Winter, both 19, are accused of raping the girl in deserted Nicholson Park in the early hours of November 24 last year, when she was too young and allegedly too drunk to give consent. 

Winter was released on bail back in May. 

Members of Rizzo’s family hugged one another and wept as he too was granted bail in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday. 

Defence lawyer James Howell told the court Rizzo, 18 at the time of the alleged offence, was unaware of the girl’s age. 

The girl allegedly told police she disclosed her age to one of the men, but she couldn’t be sure who it was. 

Mr Howell noted other aspects of the girl’s statement to police – “I didn’t say yes, I didn’t say no”, “I just went along with it” and, as she parted ways with the men “we just sort of said, ‘see ya’.” 

“That [‘see ya’] is certainly not the indication of someone who’s  just been sexually assaulted,” said Mr Howell. 

But prosecutor Robert Taylor told the court Rizzo later indicated to police that he knew the girl was “pretty intoxicated”. 

Circumstances surrounding the encounter – including the girl’s recorded injuries – also indicated she did not give consent, Mr Taylor said. 

“You’re talking about circumstances where these two young men had oral, anal and vaginal intercourse,” he said. 

“The fact she didn’t say yes and didn’t say no … it’s not to be taken to mean that she consented to sex. The alleged offender said in his record of interview, [when asked] ‘what gave you the impression she was consenting?’,  ‘well, she could have walked away or pushed us’.” 

The girl was alone at the park, sitting on play equipment, when Rizzo and Winter approached and struck up a conversation. It is alleged the men both started kissing and fondling her before the trio moved underneath the play equipment and their behaviour allegedly escalated to joint penetrative rape.

The girl underwent a sexual assault examination in Wollongong Hospital later that morning where it was discovered she had multiple bruises and red marks on her thighs, knees, chest, lower back and buttocks.

Under the terms of his bail, Rizzo must live with a relative in Casula, and must report to Liverpool Police Station daily. His mother was required to lodge $5000 cash as surety. 

Granting bail, Magistrate Susan McGowan told Rizzo: “the police will be looking at your every move”.  

“Yes ma’am,” Rizzo replied. 

The mens’ matters return to court July 18.