Midlothian man cleared of male rape

A 29-year-old Midlothian man was dramatically cleared of male rape on Monday after a jury believed his claim that the other man had consented to sex.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 9:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 9:39 am
Michael Partenheimer was cleared of male rape.

Michael Partenheimer had denied raping a 32-year-old father of four after a drunken night out in Dalkeith two and a half years ago. The Crown argued that the alleged victim was so inebriated that he would have been incapable of consenting, as Partenheimer claimed.

The complainer told the court his memory of the evening's events after his second round of drinks with a pal in the Buccleuch pub in Dalkeith was a complete blank. The jury at the High Court in Livingston was shown CCTV footage showing him and a friend stripping off their tops on the dance floor of the pub and being filmed by the accused.

Footage from outside the bar showed the complainer repeatedly falling to the ground and crawling before heading off to share a taxi with Partenheimer and his friend to the accused’s flat in nearby Rosewell.

He claimed he was 'straight' and would never have consented to sex with another man.

The man's friend gave evidence that his friend had downed at least 17 drinks but was still capable of walking and talking. He said he had witnessed his pal and the accused naked in bed together at Partenheimer's flat kissing and "having consensual sex”. He said he briefly joined them but left after a short time and phoned the complainer’s mother.

The court heard that it was the man’s mother who called the police and alleged that her son had been raped after he complained of having a “sore bum”.

Solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder, defending, said in his closing speech that his client’s position that the complainer had been a willing partner had not changed since his first interview with police. The jury took just an hour and a half to reject the prosecution case and side with Partenheimer.

The accused told jurors he had lost his job, got into financial difficulties and was on prescribed medication for stress because of the case.

There were emotional scenes in court when the verdict was read out with Partenheimer bursting into tears in the dock and holding his face in his hands.

After he was formally acquitted by Judge Lord Beckett he ran sobbing into the arms of a woman believed to be his mother and was led from the court in her embrace.