Appeal rejected for Tinder basher


IT?S LOVE at first swipe ? or is it?

The potential pitfalls of hooking up through ?Tinder? have once again been exposed ? this time in a High Court appeal involving a man found guilty of assaulting a woman he met back in January on the popular dating app.

Antony Martin Frederick McCullough was sentenced to 120 hours community work after it was alleged he struck a woman ? who can?t be named for legal reasons ? just hours after meeting her on Tinder.

The case comes hard on the heels of the high-profile death of Kiwi woman Warriena Wright, 26, who fell 14 floors from her luxury Surfers Paradise apartment in August 2014.

Gable Tostee, 29, was arrested and charged with the woman?s alleged murder.

A trial date is yet to be set. Tostee has proclaimed his innocence in a series of bizarre posts on social media – with the latest stating he was a victim of “abuse and violence” on the night Wright died.

Despite being convicted, McCullough is also protesting his innocence.

According to police, after meeting the woman at the home of a friend they went to McCullough?s home where they engaged in consensual sexual intercourse. After sex, it is alleged that McCullough struck the woman a number of times in the face with his hand and then applied force to her in ?a general struggle?. ?

McCullough was later found guilty on a charge of male assaults female. He appealed the conviction on the grounds police had not properly investigated the complainant?s allegations. He claimed the arresting officer had not attempted to obtain the medical notes prepared by the hospital that treated the woman for her alleged injuries.

He claimed the woman was so affected by her alcohol consumption on the night in question that she was not a reliable witness.

However, Justice Nation ruled there were no grounds for McCullough?s appeal. Police had laid a charge, as they were entitled to do, based on the information they had received from the complainant. At trial, the judge had to decide if the crucial elements of the charge had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt on the evidence, which was before him.

Specifically, he had to decide whether there was evidence to show that McCullough had struck the woman above the eye and on the right side of her face after she resisted his ?further sexual advances? towards her and whether he had applied physical force to her in the general struggle she described in making those further advances.

Justice Nation said there were no independent witnesses to what had occurred at that ?crucial point of the encounter?.

He said he did consider that any omission by police to obtain evidence about what may or may not have happened could have created a risk of a miscarriage of justice.

He noted the complainant?s evidence at the trial was detailed and was given in a careful and considered manner.

?On my reading of the transcript of the complainant?s evidence, I likewise consider it has the hallmarks of honesty and reliability. The detail of the evidence she gives fits with the general description of what she was alleging, the feelings which she described having at the time and the emotion which she exhibited soon after leaving the address,? Justice Nation said.

?On all of the evidence which was before him, the judge could quite reasonably and properly conclude that Mr McCullough had intentionally assaulted the complainant. I have not been persuaded that the judge made an error in his assessment of the evidence. I am satisfied that no miscarriage of justice has occurred.?

cookStephen Cook is a multi award winning journalist and former news editor and assistant editor of the Herald on Sunday.