Jurors offered counselling after bondage sex trial

February 17, 2015 | By More

Court House-general1Jurors have been offered counselling after returning mainly guilty verdicts after hearing “unpleasant evidence” during a bondage-and-sex trial in the Christchurch District Court.

Judge David Saunders thanked the jurors for their public service after they delivered 12 guilty verdicts on the seventh day of the trial of Ian Edward Hitchcock, 29.

He told the jurors that if they wished, counselling could be arranged by approaching the Victim Support organisation in the Court House.

They had to listen to “a lot of unpleasant evidence”, but they had stuck to their task and had brought some finality to the trial, he said.

He told Hitchcock that there was an inevitability about a jail sentence being imposed and said it was inappropriate to consider bail for his remand for Crown sentencing on April 15. He asked for a pre-sentence report by probation, and the Crown and defence will put in written submissions ahead of the sentencing.

Hitchcock shrugged to family members in the back of the court as he was led to the cells.

The jury found Hitchcock guilty of raping one girl, and having sexual connection with a young person – a second girl – unlawful sexual connection, supplying cannabis, selling cannabis, and perverting justice by setting up Facebook pages to try to get the girls to change their testimony.

The jury could not reach a verdict on one of the two rape charges, but convicted Hitchcock on the alternative charge of unlawful sexual connection with a young person.

Defence counsel James Rapley had told the jury that Hitchcock claimed the girls had conspired against him with their tales of bondage and under-age sex. He said they were troubled teenagers who had both consumed alcohol and drugs.

Police found bondage items during a search of Hitchcock’s bedroom. The girls had alleged he bound and blindfolded them at different times, and then raped them.

 

Category: Focus

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