The lawyer for a prominent businessman accused of indecent assault has told a jury the complainants wanted to bring down his client, and made up the allegations.
The businessman, who cannot be named, denies three charges of indecent assault and two of attempting to dissuade a witness.
His co-accused, whose name is also suppressed, denies one charge of attempting to dissuade a witness.
In his closing address to the jury at the High Court in Auckland, the businessman’s lawyer David Jones questioned the motivation of the complainants in coming forward.
“They want to bring someone down, for whatever reason, and this is their way of doing it.
“They know that they have [name] suppression, as a matter of law, so they can come along and throw rocks and not be named,” Jones said.
Jones told the jury his client had no knowledge of a plan to try to bribe one of the complainants to retract his statement, during a glitzy trip to the Gold Coast.
He said the businessman would never be involved in something so stupid or illegal.
Jones said his client had been targeted.
“That’s one of the drawbacks of being successful and being influential,” he said.
Jones urged the jury to treat the accused in the same way they would expect any person to treat their family member if they were on trial.
“The whole trial process is based on fairness, you people stand between the defendant and unfairness,” he said.
In its closing address to the jury yesterday, Crown prosecutor Simon Foote said it was not a coincidence that the businessman had been accused of indecent assault by three men, and that their complaints were similar.
“All these men are telling you the truth,” he said.
The trial before Justice Venning and a jury of nine women and three men continues.