A man cleared of raping a woman in the toilet of a restaurant has described the verdict as “a weight lifted off his shoulders”.
Mark Caine had been on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen this week accused of having sex with the woman when she was too drunk or high on cocaine to give consent.
But after 90 minutes of deliberations, a jury found the 40-year-old not guilty.
On the steps of the court building, Mr Caine wiped away tears of relief.
The father-of-one, from Aberdeen, told the Press and Journal: “It is a relief. This has been hanging over me since the allegations were made. It is a weight off my shoulders.”
During the trial, the court heard Mr Caine had ended up at an after-hours gathering at the former Cinnamon restaurant in Union Street on February 12 last year.
He had been drinking and taking cocaine beforehand and met the restaurant’s chef in a strip club. The woman and her friends also arrived at the restaurant after a separate night out.
Sujath Ali, who was in the restaurant that night, told the court everyone was “around the same level” of drunkenness, describing them all as “jolly”.
Witnesses described seeing Mr Caine and the woman “comfortable” in conversation together, with their arms around each other.
Giving evidence in his own defence, Mr Caine told the court he and the woman spoke for about half an hour before she took him by the hand and led him to a toilet cubicle.
There, he said, she asked him for sex and began to remove her clothing.
A friend of the woman told the court she had joked that it sounded like the pair were having a “good time” – but said she had later confronted Mr Caine and told him the woman was “too drunk” to have sex.
The court heard her friend had later approached prosecutors to express doubts about the allegations, and told jurors she “was not 100% sure a rape had taken place”.