WELLINGTON (AFP) - A New Zealand man has been cleared of raping his estranged wife while pretending to be her young lover in a case partially inspired by the novel "Fifty Shades of Grey", a report said on Tuesday.
The man was facing two counts of rape and four of unlawful sexual connection after having sex with the woman twice last year, with his identity hidden by a balaclava and sunglasses on both occasions, Fairfax New Zealand reported.
"This has been the most bizarre and complex case that I've seen in 15 years," said defence lawyer Paul Keegan.
New Plymouth District Court was told the unnamed couple, from Stratford in the North Island, were separated after a 15-year marriage and had one child together.
They had kept in touch but a few months after the separation the man began sending texts to his former wife from a new mobile phone, not revealing his identity.
Instead, he assumed the persona of a 20-year-old man and the communications between the pair became increasingly sexually charged, Fairfax reported.
It said the pair agreed to a sexual liaison but the man claimed he was nervous and did not want to show his face, so he donned a balaclava and communicated with her only by gestures.
The second time it happened, she followed him and complained to police after becoming suspicious.
Keegan said a copy of "50 Shades of Grey" and "The Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening" were found in the woman's bedroom.
He said many of the texts exchanged between the pair were inspired by the E L James tale of a sado-masochistic relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey.
Keegan said his client had always maintained that his estranged wife knew it was him or at least thought it might be him.
Fairfax reported that the defence lawyer said there were "serious concerns about the credibility of the victim".
Judge Allan Roberts acquitted the man on all charges, saying it was the most extraordinary case he had presided over, Fairfax reported.