A jury will have to decide whether conspiracy, revenge, and lies has led to a 45-year-old man being put on trial for child sex abuse offending.
The Crown says that in spite of a series of incidents – including blackmail – the abuse of three girls did occur.
The defence says the three week trial in the Christchurch District Court has heard nothing to corroborate or to confirm independently the evidence of the three women.
The alleged victims are now women in their 20s. They were aged between seven and 16 years when the Crown says the offending occurred at several West Coast locations and in Christchurch.
The women’s names are suppressed, and the man has interim suppression.
He denies six charges of rape, eight of indecent assault, seven of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, one of attempted unlawful sexual connection, and two of inducing girls to do an indecent act.
The trial was told that two of the women had admitted blackmailing the man, as teenagers. Defence counsel Pip Hall QC described the blackmail texts as “evil and threatening” carried out by nasty and conniving teenagers.
He told the jury in his closing address that the defence submitted the three women had lied in their evidence. He alleged they had made false allegations to get even with the man, and exact revenge.
The defence said there had been “cross-fertilisation” in the evidence of the women, to enable their memories to be altered to carry out the blackmail. “Clearly, they got their heads together.”
Crown prosecutor Karyn South said the defence stance that there was a conspiracy against the man did not stack up. Three women had come to court and the defence would claim that they had “lied and acted for days” as they gave evidence. The defence had not made a dent in the testimony of one of the complainants during two days of cross-examination.
She said she expected the defence would argue about the unreliability of memory. “The biggest problem with memory, as far as the defence is concerned, is that people have it.” The three girls who the Crown said had been sexual abused, had grown up and told what had happened.
The man claimed he had been the victim of a campaign of harassment and blackmail, but he had made payments to three women who the Crown said he had abused. Two of the women, as teenagers, had admitted blackmailing him.
“The payments to all these girls are tantamount to admissions,” said Miss South. “The Crown says that when you look at all the facts, there is no mystery about why he made these payments. He did so because he committed these offences.”
Mr Hall said that the payments were not proof of the offending. The man told the police he made the payments to stop the harassment and threatening comments. “The payments were made to avoid yet another false allegation to the police, which had become a pattern,” he said.
The defence case was that the sexual offending did not occur.
Judge Brian Callaghan is expected to sum up on Friday, before the jury retires to consider its verdicts.