Hostel owner jailed for indecently assaulting tourists

A Northland backpacker lodge owner has been jailed for eight years for drugging and indecently assaulting male guests.

Michael Harris was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to 42 charges relating to 19 young men.

"If this happened to me I'd feel seriously invaded," Judge John Fogarty said at the sentencing.

The assaults took place between 2011 and 2014, while Harris was running Mainstreet Lodge Backpackers in Kaitaia.

Harris drugged his guests by slipping insomnia medication into glasses of orange juice, before indecently assaulting them and taking intimate photos of them.

Defence lawyer Doug Blaikie argued it wasn't for sexual gratification.

"The most serious thing is getting into bed and cuddling them, no suggestion of fondling of genitals."

The Crown argued it was a breach of the victims' privacy to expose them in their underwear and take photos while they were unconscious.

"They had no choices whatsoever, and instead in hindsight have figured out that this is what happened," Crown Prosecutor Bernadette O'Connor says.

At an earlier hearing, a victim addressing the court described Harris as a "father figure", and expressed disappointment at waking one night to find his arms around him.

Discussions are still ongoing about whether Harris' assets should be forfeited to the Crown.