Architect sexually assaulted woman as she slept on sofa after drunken night out, court hears

Oliver Smail sexually assaulted a woman after a drugs and booze fuelled night out in south London (MPS)
Oliver Smail sexually assaulted a woman after a drugs and booze fuelled night out in south London (MPS)

An architect sexually assaulted a woman when she passed out on a sofa after a drug and booze-fuelled night, a court has heard.

Oliver Smail, 31, had taken cocaine and been on a bar crawl through south London with friends when he pulled down the woman’s underwear and touched her intimately.

A university friend of Smails’ tried repeatedly to stop him from touching the woman, Inner London crown court heard, and even sent a text to another pal saying the architect was “literally attempting rape on the sofa”.

Smail, who insisted immediately after the attack that he “thought she consented”, denied there was any sexual touching when the case came to trial.

But he was convicted by a jury at Inner London crown court of sexual assault by penetration, and faces a possible prison term when he is sentenced on October 28.

Smail, a former planning officer at Aylesbury Vale District Council who now runs his own architectural design firm, had been socialising with friends from the University of Kent on the night of the attack, on September 8, 2019.

He, Tom Madden, and Alexander Hodgson-Doughty had been to a series of drinking establishments including the Three Sheets bar in Dalston, meeting the woman and her friend during the day.

The group, who took ecstasy and cocaine, then bought gin and tonic and took a taxi to Mr Hodgson-Doughty’s flat in Walworth.

Judge Benedict Kelleher said they were “all quite drunk”, and several witnesses remarked that Smail appeared particularly intoxicated.

Eventually the woman said she went to sleep on the sofa in the living room and “remembers Tom trying to drag (Smail) off me, saying ‘stop touching her’.”

“I sort of started to realise he kept on touching me and being inappropriate”, she said.

“I switched and lay on the other side of the sofa, it seemed to stop and I wanted to sleep.”

She said she later woke up to find her underwear and spanx leggings had been pulled down, with Smail touching her intimately between her legs.

Mr Madden told the court he was “uncomfortable” with his friend’s behaviour and tried to stop him from getting on to the sofa.

“I thought it was quite crazy, trying to make something happen”, he said. “Because of the way he was, he wasn’t in his right mind.

“I tried to pull him off the sofa several times, I was saying ‘no, sit on the floor’.”

After the attack, Smail was confronted by the woman’s friend who asked what had happened.

Smail, who has a Masters in Architecture from Kingston University, tried to hide his face with a pillow before saying “I thought she consented”, the court heard.

During the trial, he denied sexual contact and claimed the woman had squeezed his hand and pushed her leg into his groin.

He claimed the “consent” comment had been about him touching her leg.

Smail was questioned two weeks after the assault, but did not face a criminal charge until two years later.

Smail, from Aylesbury, denied but was convicted of sexual assault by penetration.

* Update: ARB, the architects regulator, has contacted the Evening Standard following publication to inform us that Smail is not registered with them.