Cruise

Royal Caribbean cops further punishment for detaining Aussie cruiser over threesome

Royal Caribbean International has been ordered to hand over more money to a Sydney tradie, who won almost $100,000 from the cruise line after being detained on false rape allegations.

Daniel Rawlings was awarded $97,394 from the cruise line in December, after crew on board Explorer of the Seas detained him for six days when a woman he had had a threesome with accused him of sexual assault.

The incident occurred in 2016 and stemmed from one of the threesome’s participants, known as Ms A, was found wandering around the ship naked and disorientated.

Rawlings had booked the 10-day cruise from Sydney to Vanuatu with his friend Matthew Champion, but spent the majority of his time locked in an isolated cabin.

The Sydney-based air conditioning tradesman, who was 28 at the time, brought two 18-year-old girls back to the cabin he was sharing with Champion on 15 November. Champion said he left when the three arrived and that he heard laughter and giggling.

Ms A said she could not remember much of the threesome and later accused Rawlings of rape, according to news.com.au.

However, the other woman involved in the threesome, which Rawlings said went for “several hours”, claimed Ms A “knew exactly what she was doing”.

Rawlings told the court he had suffered from post-traumatic stress after he was locked in a windowless board room for two days dressed only in shorts, then transferred to an isolated cabin for another four days.

On Monday, Judge John Hatzistergos ordered Royal Caribbean to pay Rawlings’ legal costs, concluding that an investigation would have found “no evidence of foul play at all”, and that Rawlings’ detention was based on suspicion rather than evidence.

“In my view, detention comprising conditions akin to solitary confinement for the remainder of the journey back to Sydney as described was not reasonable in the circumstances,” the judge said, according to news.com.au.

Royal Caribbean told Travel Weekly it does not comment on litigation. However, news.com.au reported the cruise line has lodged an appeal against last year’s ruling.


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