Ben Lister: Rape-accused police officer 'doesn't recall conversation about consent'

·Freelance Writer
·3 min read
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.
Sergeant Ben Lister is on trial accused of raping and sexually assaulting a woman in Bradford on 29 August 2016. (PA)

The police sergeant accused of raping a woman after a night out has denied the charges against him, telling a jury that he has no recollection of a conversation about consent.

Ben Lister, 36, described to jurors at Bradford Crown Court how he had sex with a woman at a house after going out for drinks with friends, and insisted that he knew what consent was.

Earlier this week, the woman told the court how she had nightmares about what happened on the night she was allegedly raped by Lister.

The trial heard that Lister is accused of dragging the “very drunk” woman off the sofa as she slept, before touching her sexually while she drifted “in and out of consciousness”.

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: Monday October 4, 2021.
Sergeant Ben Lister leaves Bradford Crown Court, where he is on trial accused of raping and sexually assaulting a woman in Bradford on 29 August 2016. (PA)

But during the trial on Thursday, Lister said: “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.

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

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

Lister was asked by his barrister, Laura Nash, whether the woman had asked him to stop and he said: “No."

Nash also 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.

The defendant said “no” to each question.

Lister, who was a constable at the time of the incident in August 2016 but was a sergeant by the time he was arrested and suspended, said everyone on the night out had been drinking and when they arrived at a friend’s house, “everyone was drunk”.

He told the jury: “But no-one was out of it. No-one was falling over. No-one needed to be helped.”

A general view of Bradford Crown Court, Bradford.
Ben Lister is on trial at Bradford Crown Court. (PA)

He said 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.

He said they then moved on to the floor where they had sex.

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

The defendant 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.

The jury has heard how the complainant became pregnant, had a child and DNA analysis showed Lister was the father.

Sergeant Ben Lister arrives at Bradford Crown Court accused of raping and sexually assaulting a woman in Bradford on August 29 2016. Picture date: Wednesday April 21, 2021.
Sergeant Ben Lister denies one count of rape and one count of assault by penetration. (PA)

But he told the jury that “it never crossed my mind that I could be the father”, but later added: “I’m the father of that child, I accept that.”

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.

Lister, 36, denies one count of rape and one count of assault by penetration. 

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