A South Australian man who kidnapped and raped a European backpacker in a pig shed on his regional property has lost a bid to have his convictions overturned.
Gene Charles Bristow held the 24-year-old woman for two days after he answered a Gumtree advertisement she posted in search of farm work in 2017.
After being found guilty of aggravated kidnapping, rape and indecent assault, he was jailed for 18 years with a non-parole period of 12 years and six months.
But in arguing his appeal, Bristow questioned the use of some of the evidence during his trial, including details of how the woman had managed to release herself from her chains and subsequently use her computer to send messages for help.
After sending the messages, the woman had chained herself back up before her release the next day.
In a unanimous judgment on Thursday, the Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed Bristow's arguments, with Chief Justice Chris Kourakis finding no error in law or miscarriage of justice in how the trial judge handled the email messages.
In his reasons, Justice Kevin Nicholson also said he had no concerns that the jury might have put undue weight on the content of the emails to the benefit of the prosecution.
He said it was apparent throughout the trial that the central issue was whether the prosecution had excluded, as a reasonable possibility, that the woman had made up a series of lies to implicate an innocent man.
"It could not have escaped the jury that to acknowledge such a reasonable possibility necessarily meant that the email and search content had also been concocted," he said.
In sentencing Bristow, District Court Judge Geraldine Davison said he lied to the woman to lure her to the farm at Meningie, 150km southeast of Adelaide, then chained her hands and legs "in what must have been a terrifying experience for her".
"You took her mobile phone and disposed of it, and left her alone in that shed in the middle of nowhere," she said.
"You raped her on a number of occasions."
While she was in the shed, Bristow threatened to shoot her and told her fake stories about police corruption and his involvement in a kidnapping ring.
"It is impossible to understand how alone and devastated she must have felt as you humiliated and degraded her in a foreign country," Judge Davison said.
But she said it was the woman's courage, resourcefulness and practicality that led Bristow to eventually release her in Murray Bridge.
"She managed to undo the chains and to use her computer to alert others that she needed assistance," Judge Davison said.
Australian Associated Press