Tradie wrongly accused of raping and drugging a law student he met at a pub moves step closer to justice as police launch internal inquiry into ‘bungled’ investigation
- Phoenix Cooper, 25, was found not guilty of raping a woman he met at the pub
- Cops charged tradie after eight months when drug results came back negative
- Supposed victim had simply been drunk, but was convinced by mates of rape
- Legal defence cost Cooper more than $200,000 to prove his innocence
- Cooper fears more young men out on the tear will suffer a fate worse than his
Victoria Police has launched an investigation into the bungled prosecution of a successful tradie wrongly accused of rape.
Daily Mail Australia revealed last month Phoenix Cooper believed he had become a victim of the ‘MeToo Movement’ gone mad after police and prosecutors pushed ahead with its case against him.
On Tuesday, Victoria Police confirmed it had ordered an internal inquiry into its case against the 25-year old.
Phoenix Cooper was wrongly accused of drugging and raping a woman he had simply hit-it-off with at a trendy pub. The woman’s law student mates described him as ‘some random’
Phoenix Cooper was forced to employ high-priced barrister Philip Dunn, QC (right) to defend himself at the Supreme Court of Victoria
For eight long months Victoria Police detective Cheree Pedler had been convinced Cooper had drugged his supposed victim, who claimed she could not remember having sex with him.
But when the results came back negative – she charged him anyway.
On May 6, Mr Cooper was found not guilty by a Supreme Court of Victoria jury of raping the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The woman Mr Cooper had picked-up at a trendy nightspot in Melbourne‘s inner east was supposedly convinced by her law student mates that he must have drugged her.
How else could ‘some random’ – as her mate’s later described the tradie – have gone home with their well-to-do Brighton mate who was on the path to becoming a hot shot lawyer.
On Tuesday, the Herald Sun reported Victoria Police confirmed it had received a complaint and it would be examined.
‘Professional Standards Command has received a complaint in relation to this matter, which will be investigated,’ it was reported.
Mr Cooper told Daily Mail Australia he has also engaged lawyers with a view to launching civil action against police.
Last month, Mr Cooper said he hoped no one else would have to endure what he had.
‘Why did nobody put the brakes on this? Why has it gone this far? Imagine you had a son and your son was in a situation like this? Or a mate? Or a brother? It could happen to anyone,’ he said at the time.
Mr Cooper believes he inadvertently became embroiled in the ‘MeToo Movement’ – a social movement against sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape culture, in which people publicise their experiences of sexual abuse or sexual harassment.
‘Look, don’t get me wrong, I believe in the MeToo Movement. But this is wrong. This is not rape in any world. There are guys going through this every single day that are facing years in prison and they can’t afford proper legal support and end up in jail on flimsy, flimsy charges,’ he said.
Mr Cooper, who was represented by top Melbourne silk Philip Dunn, QC, said his defence cost more than $200,000.
Walk of Shame: Phoenix Cooper was chased down the road and photographed after wrongly being accused of raping a drunken law student, who was convinced by her mates that he had done wrong. Cooper is pictured with lawyer Zyg Zayler from Melasecca Kelly Zayler
Despite his life being turned upside down, his business damaged and reputation dragged through the mud, the young tradie still expressed empathy for the woman who had pursued the rape claims.
‘In my opinion, by them pushing this forward, not only did they obviously put me through hell, but they put this girl through hell by having to go through a trial that she was never going to win,’ Mr Cooper said.
‘I mean, she was a victim too, because her mates absolutely convinced her she had been drugged.’
The jury heard the alleged victim repeatedly contacted police asking them to charge Mr Cooper upon learning the drug results.
‘She’s a victim. And she writes the note saying ‘I want and need him charged’. She’s making contact with the police, taking an active role in it,’ Mr Dunn told the jury.
‘Why does she need him charged … the defence suggests because she’s now an entrenched victim.’
Daily Mail Australia has sought comment from Victoria Police .
HOW A DRUNKEN FLING TURNED INTO A RAPE ALLEGATION
A jury heard the woman had not been keen to talk to her mates after she left the club with Phoenix Cooper.
When she didn’t pick-up the phone, her uni mate managed to track Cooper’s phone number down thanks to his previous bragging.
When he finally picked-up the phone some 20 minutes after leaving the bar, Cooper claimed she didn’t want to speak.
Unconvinced, her law student friend – now in an Uber himself – continued to demand he speak with her.
‘I’m fine, I’m fine,’ the woman told him.
Concerned about the slurring of her speech, he asked and was provided Cooper’s address so that he could come and check on her.
After that conversation, the woman got out of bed with Cooper and went to the toilet.
When she attempted to return to the bedroom, the jury heard she ended up in the bed of Cooper’s born-again-Christian housemate, who promptly returned her to the correct bedroom.
At 1.20am, the woman’s friends arrived at Cooper’s apartment complex and called him again.
‘Darling your friends are here,’ Cooper was heard to say.
But when Cooper failed to bring the woman down within 10 minutes, her mates proceeded to wake-up the entire complex by pressing every doorbell.
When Cooper and the woman finally went downstairs, it was noted she had no shoes on and her clothes were on back-to-front.
He would later tell police he had never seen his friend in such a state in the eight years he’d known her.
He further claimed when all four of them went back up into Cooper’s apartment to retrieve the shoes, she mouthed the words ‘help me’.
The court heard the woman’s two friends took her to hospital after she vomited in the Uber upon leaving Cooper’s pad.
When cops met up with Cooper days later he freely admitted to having sex with the woman.
Cooper’s barrister told the jury the reason his client hadn’t opened the door for the woman’s friends when they arrived that morning was because they were in the process of having sex, which Mr Cooper freely admitted when he finally opened the door.