Well-known Northland business owner standing trial for alleged indecent assaults

Nine witnesses will be called to give evidence in the two-week trial. Photo / NZME

WARNING: This story contains evidence of a sexual nature which some readers may find upsetting.

A two-week jury trial has begun of a well-known Northland business owner accused of indecently assaulting five women over a three-year period.

The man in his 60s, who has name suppression, is standing trial in the Whangārei District Court on 12 charges of indecently assaulting a female over the age of 16.

A jury was selected on Monday, however overnight, two jurors had to be released and a final jury of eight women and four men was fully empanelled on Tuesday morning.


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Crown prosecutor Geraldine Kelly opened to the jury by detailing the alleged incidents of assaults in which victims recalled feeling “frozen” and “not knowing what to do.”

“He thought he could get away with it by being the funny guy. Each woman he assaulted, did not see it as a joke. He knew what he was doing to them,” Kelly told the jury.

Kelly was clear to the jury that “an intentional application of force is an assault” and on each occasion, no victim gave consent for the defendant to touch her.

The man’s defence lawyer Sumudu Thode’s opening statement to the jury was brief.


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“It simply did not happen,” she told them.

Thode said the defence had video footage of one of the alleged assaults that would show it was not an assault.

She reminded the jury the onus was on the Crown to prove the charges against her client.

Nine witnesses will be called by the prosecution to give evidence and the trial, in front of Judge Gene Tomlinson, is expected to last two weeks.

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