A former tour guide has told a West Australian court that he “wasn’t attractive physically” and weighed about 150 kilograms when he is alleged to have raped six women, but said they were drawn to him because of what he was “teaching them”.
- Joseph Williams has pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of sexual penetration without consent and two counts of indecent assault
- He was accused of lying to the court under cross-examination today, but maintained that his alleged victims made advances towards him
- Mr Williams told the court that he inherited the title of “elder” after his father died in 2011
WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of alleged crimes that readers may find distressing.
On the seventh day of his trial in Albany District Court, Joseph Luke Williams took the stand for the second time, telling the court under questioning from his defence lawyer, Bruno Illari, that each of the complainants had approached him expressing an interest in learning about traditional Aboriginal culture.
Mr Williams said he had not pushed them to have sex with him as part of his teachings.
He told the court he had offered customers to his tour company traditional song and dance performances, art and healing rituals.
Mr Williams said he had been uncomfortable during an incident in which several women on a private tour undressed in front of him.
He denied offering his cultural teachings in exchange for sex.
‘Disrespect to the max’
Under cross-examination by state prosecutor Beau Sertorio, Mr Williams said he had inherited the title of “elder” when his father died in 2011.
Mr Williams said he was publicly recognised as Denmark’s only Indigenous elder.
He denied all the accusations made by the alleged victims, including that he had offered to try and remedy an infertility issue with sex, that he had inserted his fist inside a woman to “prepare [her] for birth” and that he told one woman she should remove her pubic hair.
“[That’s] disrespect to the max,” he said.
Mr Williams said he was surprised by previous testimony given by expert witnesses that he was not recognised as an elder in the community.
Mr Sertorio raised questions about the consistency of the defendant’s testimony, remarking that in an earlier instance Mr Williams claimed he had sex with an alleged victim in the bush, which he later said was oral sex.
Mr Williams told the court he did not know what the definition of oral sex was until the trial was underway.
He said he had rubbed himself against the woman.
‘I wasn’t attractive physically’
Mr Sertorio also accused Mr Williams of lying about another incident in which he claimed to have gone swimming with one of the women at an inland waterhole.
Mr Sertorio said an Indigenous expert had previously said that the waterhole had been blown up in the 1950s.
“It’s the case you were lying,” he said.
Mr Williams denied that suggestion.
Mr Sertorio highlighted the age difference between the alleged victims and the defendant.
Mr Williams, who the court heard weighed approximately 150 kilograms at the time of the alleged acts, said each of the women he had sex with had been drawn to him despite an age gap of between 16 and 31 years.
“I wasn’t an attractive man physically,” Mr Williams said.
“They were [infatuated] not because of my features, but because I was teaching them.”
Judge Peter Christopher Stevenson, who is presiding over the case, said the trial was likely to be extended into next week because of several delays.