Closing arguments made at indecent assault trial

Closing arguments made at indecent assault trial

Both the prosecution and defence have made their closing arguments in the trial of a prominent New Zealander accused of indecent assault.

The judge then summed up, and the jury has retired to consider verdicts.

The man faces 12 charges, four of them against a child.

For the first time in the trial the public gallery in the High Court at Whangarei was full, with extra seating brought in to house spectators.  

Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey was first to deliver closing submissions, seeking to discredit claims by the defence that the two complainants concocted their stories.

"The suggestion from defence is that the [alleged victims] reconstructed actual innocent events and made them into events alleging sexual abuse."

The man is accused of touching the two complainants on their breasts, buttocks and thighs, and pressing his groin against them, which mainly followed massages.

"The Crown is not saying he's an out-and-out monster -- that's a gross overstatement of the Crown case -- but surreptitiously or sneakily overstepped the mark with these girls and crossed the line into indecency from time-to-time, believing he would get away with it," said Mr Dickey.

He told the court there was no concoction or conspiracy that the defendant took the opportunity to touch the alleged victims inappropriately.

"If it did happen [as the victims claim], I would be very surprised if you didn't find it indecent."

He also said what the complainants alleged doesn't gel with a made-up story.

"If you were going to lie about these events, wouldn't you make it much worse? Why leave it where they do? Why leave it fleeting, why just touching? If you're malicious, why wouldn't you go further?"

Mr Dickey also addressed confusion one of the alleged victims had over the timing of the alleged offences.

"Whether it happened on a Tuesday or a Thursday, it doesn't matter".

He told the jury the only thing that matters is that they believe beyond all reasonable doubt that it happened during the alleged time period.

"No one gets it right when it comes to dates."

He said the fact that a victim or witness is vague about dates doesn't "take you to a place where they are making it up".

He also suggested there would be a greater level of suspicion if they were absolutely precise on their recount of events.

In his closing address, defence lawyer Arthur Fairley told the jury they must be very careful with the arguments made by the Crown.

Mr Fairley made specific reference to claims that if the two victims were to lie, they would have made the allegations much worse.

"You need to be very, very careful with those sorts of submissions," said Mr Fairley.

He told the jury the defendant had denied the claims from day one, and never once changed his story.

"On the left hand there are duck-dives and story-changes, and on the right hand there isn't. That should give you cause for concern," said Mr Fairley.

In opening his final submissions Mr Fairley pointed at the defendant, and told the court, "From where this man is sitting, it's a pretty big lie."