A 77-year-old man has gone on trial on sex abuse charges dating back as far as the 1950s.
The man denied eight charges as the trial began in the High Court at Christchurch before Justice David Gendall and a jury.
The Crown is expected to call up to eight witnesses in the week-long trial, which alleges offending against two girls between 1955 and 1975. The offending is said to have occurred in Christchurch and on the West Coast.
The man is charged with raping one of the girls, when he was a teenager, and several charges of indecently assaulting both girls when one was aged up to 13 years and the other aged up to 14. He has name suppression.
Crown prosecutor Deidre Orchard told the court that one woman would tell of an encounter with the man which she did not understand at the time, when she was aged five or six.
“As an adult she reviewed the sensations,” said Mrs Orchard, and she would tell of the sights and movements involved in what happened.
“She put them all together and appreciated that she must have been raped,” she said.
One woman would tell of indecent touching by the man when she visited his house. The other woman would give evidence of the man touching her and performing a sexual act.
Defence counsel Pip Hall QC said the rape allegation was so old that the prosecution had to rely on the 1908 Crimes Act, rather than the current legislation.
He said: “The defence says that the memories of these two complainants are wrong and have been reconstructed over the years because of antipathy each of them has towards (the defendant).”
The defence said there was ample room for their memories to have been reconstructed or contaminated by the delay, the distance, their ages, and repetition of the allegations over the years, he said.
The trial is continuing.