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Police sergeant accused of raping and impregnating woman after night out denies charges

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A police sergeant accused of raping and impregnating a woman after a night out has denied the charges, telling a jury: “I know what consent is.”

Ben Lister told Bradford Crown Court of how he had sex with a woman at a house after going out drinking with friends, but denied it was without her consent.

The 36-year-old told jurors: “I know what consent is. I don’t recall a conversation in the build-up, can I have sex with her. That’s not a conversation I would have.

Sergeant Ben Lister leaves Bradford Crown Court, where he is on trial accused of raping and sexually assaulting a woman in Bradford on August 29 2016. Picture date: Tuesday October 5, 2021.
Image: The 36-year-old has denied the charges

“It’s in body language, the moment with someone, the build-up, the conversation.

“I wouldn’t just start to have sex with someone.”

He was asked by his barrister, Laura Nash, whether the woman had asked him to stop and he said “no”.

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When asked whether the complainant had indicated she did not want to engage in sexual activity, whether she pushed him away or appeared unwilling to participate, Lister replied “no” to each question.

At the time of the incident in August 2016, Lister was a constable, but by the time he was arrested and suspended he was a sergeant.

He told the court that everyone on the night out had been drinking and when they arrived at a friend’s house, “everyone was drunk”.

“But no one was out of it. No one was falling over. No one needed to be helped,” he said.

He added that the group were laughing and joking before everyone, except him and the complainant, went upstairs to sleep.

Lister described how he and the woman began kissing before he performed oral sex on her on the couch and they then moved on to the floor where they had sex.

The defendant said he remembered withdrawing before ejaculating as there was “giggling between us because of the awkwardness of cleaning up”.

The woman became pregnant, had a child and DNA analysis showed that Lister was the father, the jury heard.

He told the court: “I didn’t see how it could’ve been. My recollection of pulling out, for want of a better phrase, I didn’t see how it could be.

“It never crossed my mind that I could be the father.”

He later added: “I’m the father of that child, I accept that.”

Lister was asked about a later Facebook message from the woman saying “did I sleep with you last night?” and why he replied “no”.

bradford, west yorkshire, united kingdom - 28 may 2019: a view of exchange square in bradford west yorkshire with the crown court building surrounded by trees
Image: He appeared at Bradford Crown Court. Pic: iStock

He said he had just split up with his partner, who was also a police officer, and wanted to get back with her, but feared her finding out about this one-night stand.

Lister said he had been a police officer in West Yorkshire since 2007 and had no previous convictions or misconduct findings against him.

Prosecutors have told the jury their case is that the woman did not consent to sexual contact with him and “for the bulk of it she wasn’t in any fit state to do so because of intoxication”.

The jury was told that the woman went to police in January 2020 and Lister was arrested and interviewed.

On Monday, the judge, Recorder of Bradford Richard Manson QC, warned the jury not to compare the case to the false arrest and murder of Sarah Everard by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens.

Lister has denied one count of rape and one count of assault by penetration.