Hung jury in drug and rape trial

A jury has been unable to reach agreement in the seven-day trial of a 31-year-old meth dealer charged with stupefying and raping a woman on the West Coast in 2014.

The jury deliberated from 3.30pm Tuesday, after Christchurch District Court Judge Brian Callaghan completed his summing up.

They had been considering the case in the jury room for seven-and-a-half hours before they sent a note to the judge saying that they would not be able to reach verdicts. They had signalled they were stuck some hours before and were given a direction by the judge.

In their final note they said they were “hopelessly deadlocked” and there was no hope of resolution – not even an 11-1 majority verdict.

Judge Callaghan remanded the man in custody for a pre-trial call-over in Christchurch on June 16 to consider a new trial date. Interim suppression continues.

The trial had begun on Monday last week, when the woman gave evidence alleging that she must have been given a different drug – the Crown said it was likely the date-rape drug GHB – when the man came to her Greymouth house in February 2014 to supply methamphetamine and take drugs with her.

He had supplied her regularly with methamphetamine.

Crown prosecutor Andrew McRae said the woman was an addict who was used to the effects of methamphetamine, but this time she had felt tired and sick. She said she had then been raped by the man while she was affected by the drug.

Defence counsel Marcus Zintl attacked the credibility of the complainant, and also a witness who gave evidence that the man had been in possession of GHB about that time. He said the defence case was that the woman’s drug taking could have led to hallucinations, false memory, or she had made up the attack.

Expert witnesses were called at the trial to give evidence about the effects of drugs, and their impact on memory.


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