Major Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Daniel Rawlings win in court wrongful rape claims

Royal Caribbean ordered Sydney trade arrested over threesome to pay costs

There has been another victory in court for a Sydney man who had a threesome on a cruise ship before being arrested for days after wrongful rape charges.

A big cruise ship corporation will have to shell more cash out to a Sydney tradie who earlier received a huge settlement after he was held for six days by workers in the wake of wrongful charges of rape.

Last year, Daniels Rawlings won nearly $100,0000 from Royal Caribbean Cruises on board the Explorer of the Seas in the NSW District Court over the ordeal.

The November 2016 incident resulted from a consensual threesome in his cabin.

Mr. Rawlings, then 28, was held against his will on the orders of the ship's captain for six days after one of the participants, a woman known as Ms. A, was found nude and disoriented roaming the halls.

Daniel Rawlings had another Royal Caribbean court against him.
Daniel Rawlings had another Royal Caribbean court against him.

The heavily intoxicated woman had no memory of the threesome and later charged Mr. Rawlings with sexual assault.

For the majority of the 10-day trip from Sydney to Vanuatu, the staff, who were concerned that the woman could not give permission, then arrested the air conditioning merchant.

Last year, Judge John Hatzistergos awarded $97,394 in damages to Mr Rawlings and ruled that even a "cursory" investigation into the charges would have found "no proof of foul play at all."

Judge Hatzistergos also ordered Royal Caribbean to pay the 32-year-expenses old's for the long legal fight that resulted in an April 2020 trial on Monday.

The judge claimed in his December judgment that Captain Richard Sullivan was justified in initially retaining Mr Rawlings after the woman's complaint.

But he said that the continued detention overstepped the mark as it was based on a "extremely lacking" investigation and hinged on the "suspicion of a crime rather than any evidence."

Daniel Rawlings will get his legal fees paid as well.
Daniel Rawlings will get his legal fees paid as well.

"In my view, detention as described was not reasonable in the circumstances, including conditions similar to solitary confinement for the remainder of the journey back to Sydney," Judge Hatzistergos said.

The court learned the man from the northern beaches booked a cruise with Matthew Champion's best friend, with whom he shared a suite.

However, after he took two 18-year-old women back to his cabin on November 15, what was supposed to be a sunny holiday descended into a nightmare for Mr Rawlings.

Mr Rawlings told the court that for "several hours," including in the bathroom, he moved the two single beds in his cabin together and the three had sex.

At one point, he said that Ms. A was sick and he helped her throw up in the bathroom before they went back to bed.

Mr. Champion, who had left the room when the three of them arrived, said that he had heard giggles and laughter.

In court, the other woman also offered proof that Ms A "knew exactly what she was doing."

The Explorer of the Oceans' Police Commission in November 2016
The Explorer of the Oceans' Police Commission in November 2016

Early in the morning, Ms A was discovered and told security that she was searching for a toilet and thought she was still dancing at Dizzy's Nightclub, the bar on the ship where she met Mr Rawlings.

After hearing the charges, the court heard the woman's mother tried to throw Mr Rawlings overboard.

Between November 15 and 20, 2016, when the ship docked in Sydney, Mr Rawlings was confined, first in a boardroom and then in an isolated cabin.

He was only dressed in shorts for two days, while security checked him in a windowless room every 30 minutes.

He told the court that during his arrest, he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

Royal Caribbean filed an appeal in favor of Mr Rawlings against the December judgment.