An Australian man who is on trial for rape after he was accused of ignoring the word safe during consensual sex was found not guilty on Monday on the rape charge, but guilty of excessively choking the woman with recklessness during sex.

Leigh James Pattinson, a man from Sydney, Australia, was participating in rough sex with a woman, which prosecutors said was consensual sex that devolved into rape. Pattinson’s lawyers countered by saying that his sexual relationship with the woman was founded on sadomasochism and bondage, according to The Guardian.

“In such relationships, there’s a degree of role-playing ... words such as ‘ow’, ‘stop’, ‘you’re hurting me’ could all be seen as pillow talk,” the defense attorney said. “Even on the complainant’s case, the safe word was never used until the end.”

The pair had reportedly been participating in a rough sexual relationship for at least three years, with Pattinson enjoying dominating the woman. The woman said that as their relationship continued, his requests turned increasingly derogatory and violent, disturbing the young woman, The Canberra Times reported.

On the night of the reported tryst, he supposedly choked her so bad that she passed out, waking up with her body and her couch covered in blood, and at one point vomiting, before she finally used the safe word to stop the sexual encounter.

Pattinson’s lawyers have argued that the woman did not use the safe word until the end of the session, saying that “It is irrelevant whether she said ‘stop’, ‘ow’, ‘you’re hurting me’. The safe word was Leigh.”

However, the woman’s lawyers have said that in previous sexual encounters, Pattinson was able to stop when asked even when it was not said out loud and that her multiple vocal demands for him to stop or slow down were largely ignored.

Pattinson was found not guilty of the rape charges or the incitement of sex charge. He was, however, found guilty of choking the woman with recklessness and will be sentenced on May 27.

Representational image
An Australian man who was participating in a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with a woman, was found guilty of choking her recklessly even as he was found not guilty on raping the woman. This is a representational image. Becca Tapert/Unsplash.