A Guangdong official who was charged with raping a tour guide assigned to his group when he visited Melbourne as a government delegate in August has been acquitted by a local court due to lack of evidence.
Melbourne Magistrates Court said on Monday that the evidence was not sufficient to establish that “Song Jinsong was aware the woman was not consenting to sexual activity or may not have been consenting”, Australian newspaper The Age reported.
Song, 44, who heads an urban planning institute in Guangzhou, and the tour guide, a 34 year old university student, were heavily drunk after a dinner at a restaurant at Melbourne’s Crown casino, according to the court hearing.
The woman’s level of intoxication was described as "legless" and she allegedly "flirted" with him, the newspaper reported.
She claimed Song assaulted her in his room after being taken there by a woman from Song’s delegation.
Song was bailed in August, on condition that he surrendered his passport and report daily to police in Melbourne.
The court ordered Song’s passport be immediately returned at Monday’s hearing.
Song’s accuser gave evidence in a closed court last week, and the court delivered judgment on Monday after a number of prosecution witnesses, including a translator, a doctor and nurse who examined her, and a detective gave evidence, said the newspaper.
The case aroused much anger in the Chinese online community after Chinese newspapers picked up The Age’s reports in November, with many asking not to let him return to China.
In a report published on the website of the Shenzhen university where Song was invited to talk, a person named "Song Jingsong" was introduced as the deputy chair of “Guangdong Urban and Rural Planning and Design Institute”, an organisation affiliated with the provincial Department of Housing and Urban-rural Development.
He was also a member of the Guangdong Provincial People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the report said.