42 guilty verdicts in three-week abuse trial

Jury members have been offered counselling after returning a clean sweep of guilty verdicts in a three-week sexual abuse and violence trial.

Justice Gerald Nation told them that the court would make someone available for confidential discussions with them if they wished to seek assistance.

He said: “Particularly at certain times of this trial, it is likely you found the trial process quite harrowing.”

The jury returned 42 guilty verdicts against the 39-year-old man who remained impassive in the dock as the verdicts were read. His name suppression has been continued.

Justice Gerald Nation signalled that the court would consider an open-ended sentence of preventive detention and he has ordered the two necessary health assessors’ reports to gauge his level of risk.

He set the sentencing for December 13 and asked for a pre-sentence report and victim impact statements from the woman and three children who were complainants alleging abuse stretching over about 13 years at various locations in the northern South Island.

The man had admitted one assault with a weapon as the trial began and he was discharged on one sexual violation charge at the end of the Crown case last week. Some rape charges were combined into one charge during the trial.

The man was found guilty of six charges of intentionally injuring his victims, three of assaulting females, seven assaults with a weapon, four assaults with intent to injure, wounding with intent to injure, nine sexual violation, three rape, six of indecent assault on a child, indecent assault, assault with intent to commit sexual violation, and kidnapping.

The defence had claimed that the allegations had been fabricated by the victims.

As the trial began, Crown prosecutor Ruth Harcourt read the jury an agreed statement about the man earlier being convicted four times for assaulting another woman, including choking her until she could not breathe.

The Crown allegations at the trial this month including whipping woman with a length of hose after arguments, raping the woman and a girl, indecently assault the girls or doing indecent acts with them, and holding the woman’s head under water.

The Crown also told of the man beating a teenage boy when he accidentally knocked over one of the man’s cannabis plants, and making the boy stay in an unlocked shed for three days with a blanket and water but no food after he took cannabis to school and caused a police raid.

The man did not give evidence at his trial, but the defence called a series of witnesses to say they had witnessed no violence in their dealings with the man and the victims.