‘I knew the whole time I wasn’t guilty’
HARLEY Gene Lewis will return to his desk at a personal finance company today, less than a day after being acquitted of rape and sexual assault.
The 26-year-old cried near the back of the Southport District Court yesterday after the jury delivered their verdict. It took them about two hours to reach a decision.
Mr Lewis told the Bulletin yesterday afternoon of a "difficult and exhausting 18 months".
"It was incredibly emotional, but I knew the whole time I wasn't guilty," he said.
When asked about his thoughts towards the woman, Mr Lewis replied: "I have no feelings either way … obviously she has some issues she needs to work through on her own."
Mr Lewis was accused of raping an 18-year-old woman after a Triple J Hottest 100 party about 4am on January 27 last year.
It was alleged he picked up the woman, tied her hands and performed oral sex.
Yesterday in court, Mr Lewis was not the only one in tears.
His mother, Michelle, and sister, Jesse, who spent the three-day trial supporting Mr Lewis, were also crying.
Mr Lewis, who said he planned to spend last night recovering, wanted to move on and planned to head to Europe for four months.
"I am just happy to put the last 18 months behind me," he said.
"I am just glad the evidence all spoke for itself."
When he returns Mr Lewis will begin studying mortgage broking and finance.
His lawyer Bill Potts, of Potts Lawyers, said "no one ever wins" at the end of a trial.
He said even those found not guilty are still facing legal fees and trying to get their lives back on track.
Mr Lewis' mother and sister both took to Facebook yesterday sharing a post by body builder Luke Schembri which took aim at the #metoo movement.
"Harley is a mate of mine who had his life turned upside down 18 months ago."
In the post, Mr Schembri said Mr Lewis has spent $90,000 in legal fees defending the case.
Jesse Lewis responded to questions from friends about the case.
"Legit the hardest 18 months of our lives and so thankful it's over and my brother's name is now cleared," she wrote on Facebook.
His mother described the past 18 months as "horrific" and said she could not be prouder of her son.