29 Apr 2014

CYF caregivers on trial for abuse

6:40 pm on 29 April 2014

Separate trials are underway in two areas of the country involving Child Youth and Family caregivers who are facing abuse charges.

In Northland, evidence against a Child Youth and Family caregiver accused of sex crimes against children has been heard in a closed session on Tuesday in the High Court in Whangarei.

Taite Hemi Kupa, 57, is charged with four counts of raping two girls in his care, and seven of sexual violation involving children under 16.

He is also charged with five assaults on a child under 14, one attempted rape, and one assault of a female.

The Crown says the attacks took place at a CYF home run by Mr Kupa and his wife.

The first of two girls gave evidence on Tuesday by video link.

The girl, 15, said she did not tell any adults that Mr Kupa had assaulted her until the police began investigating a complaint by another child.

The girl, who has been in foster care since she was four, said she loved Mr Kupa's wife and feared she would have to leave the home if she spoke out.

She said she was also afraid Mr Kupa would hit or abuse her, if she told.

Taite Kupa is defending all the charges, and his lawyer Kelly Ellis has told the court the sexual assaults simply never happened.

The jury trial is set down for nine days.

Charges of abusing young boys

In Auckland, the lawyer for two former Child Youth and Family caregivers accused of abusing foster boys in their care say what has been alleged never happened, and are part of a story that doesn't add up.

Andrew Hemara, his wife Jenny-Lee, and their daughter, Tamara, are on trial in the Auckland District Court.

They face 36 charges of assaulting and wilfully ill-treating three boys in their care.

Two of the boys say the couple repeatedly kicked, punched, and threw things at them, forced them to sleep outside without blankets, and made them run around a race track until they threw up.

The family pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

The lawyer for Andrew and Jenny-Lee Hemara, Belinda Sellars, described the couple as firm but fair caregivers for difficult children and says the allegations never happened.

The trial will continue on Wednesday.