Crown case alleges repeated assaults on women

Court House-Sept-2013-06A woman whose rape allegations against Edward Thomas Booth were not accepted by a jury in 1998 will give evidence again now that he faces charges of attacking two other women.

The woman is being called as a Crown witness in a two-week trial in the Christchurch District Court before Judge Gary MacAskill and a jury. Booth, 40, denies 12 charges of rape, sexual violation, and aggravated assault.

None of the charges at the present trial relate to the 1998 rape allegations.

The Crown alleges there is a pattern to the offending, which occurs when Booth is heavily intoxicated, and involves accusations, sometimes use of a weapon, violence or sexual attack, and he is apologetic or tearful afterwards.

Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said: “It is no coincidence that his conduct has been described in similar ways by witnesses in these three cases.”

The Crown will allege that Booth armed himself with a knife from the kitchen at the time of the attack on the first woman and violated her repeatedly after ripping or cutting her clothes off. The woman would tell the trial he appeared to be drunk or spaced out. The jury was not satisfied about the evidence beyond reasonable doubt and acquitted Booth at that trial.

The Crown alleges the later offending occurred in Christchurch. A woman would allege Booth dragged her upstairs at her flat and raped her, violated her with a bottle and a banana, strangled her to the point of unconsciousness, and burned her with a heated nail.

It also alleges he attacked a third woman, breaking her arm, and throwing her into furniture. One charge is an alternative, alleging he caused her grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard for her safety.

After the attack on the third woman, Booth called the ambulance and said he had found her injured. He was distressed and the woman was unresponsive and unable to communicate. She had received multiple injuries in the assault.

She would not give evidence at the trial because she had since suffered brain aneurysm, but Booth was not charged in relation to that.

Scientists would tell the trial that there was strong scientific evidence that DNA found beneath the third woman’s fingernails came from Booth.

Booth’s defence counsel Andrew Bailey said it was rare for the Crown to “dig up” evidence from as far back as 16 years ago to try to prove its case. It showed there was a lack of evidential support, he said.

It was important for the jury to consider the Crown case with an open mind, he said. “Once you have heard all the evidence, the picture that’s been painted (by the Crown) will be different.”

The trial is continuing.

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