Indecent assault case: jury begins deliberations

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A jury has started to decide if a well known businessman indecently assaulted three young men at his house, or if the men were spurned by the accused and completely made up the claims.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

The accused, who has name suppression, denies three charges of indecent assault and two of attempting to dissuade a witness. He is on trial at the High Court at Auckland.

An associate of the businessman also faces one charge of attempting to dissuade a witness.

The Crown alleged the businessman indecently touched three men on separate occasions in the early 2000s, 2008 and 2016.

The charges of attempting to dissuade a witness relate to the 2016 complainant, who the Crown said was offered money or career opportunities in return for withdrawing the complaint he made or refusing to give evidence at trial.

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The trial judge, Justice Venning, summed up the case this morning and directed the jurors to retire to consider their verdict.

“The Crown say [the accused] targeted young men who came to him seeking his assistance or support and took advantage of his position of power to indecently assault them,” Justice Venning said.

“[Crown prosecutor Simon] Foote noted there was no suggestion of collusion between the three complainants and that there are a number of consistent patterns of behaviour in the complaints.”

Justice Venning outlined the defence case, in short:

“The defence say the complainants are all making their stories up so that you cannot rely on them at all.

“The defence say [the accused] was targeted by the complainants who sought to take advantage of his generosity. Where the truth lies is for you to determine.”

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