Quarry assault trial: Convicted rapist gives evidence

5:39 pm on 15 February 2018

The victim of the Riverhead quarry attack unknowingly spent time with a convicted rapist, shortly before she was abducted.

Exterior of the High Court in Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The convicted rapist - who has name suppression - was one of the last men to see the victim before she was taken off an inner-city Auckland street and driven 25 kilometres west to a quarry in Riverhead.

Sometime later she came around to find a man standing over her wearing a white mask and wielding a baseball bat as he made demands of her.

The Crown says the attacker was not the convicted rapist but Colin Jack Mitchell, who is on trial at the High Court in Auckland where he's denied charges of kidnapping, causing grievous bodily harm and assaulting a woman with intent to sexually violate her.

The convicted rapist told the court he went to see the Gay Pride Parade in Ponsonby and afterwards met the victim, who was out with friends and on her way to Karangahape Rd.

He walked with her and they became separated from her friends.

"We were trying to get her a taxi because she was a little bit drunk and I ended up walking her to the Family Bar on K Rd, trying to find her a taxi or other friends that she knew."

He tried to put her in a taxi but the woman refused, insisting she wanted to meet up with friends, he said.

During the walk he had to physically stop her walking out on the road in front of a car.

Once they got to Family Bar, the woman's friend bought him a drink but he had no more to do with her, the man said.

The man also confirmed that later that night he had been spoken to by police.

"I'm a bit jovial, a bit happy and don't really like certain people standing on my toes and I think I got questioned a few times that night by police officers and being harrassed by them."

Later Mr Mitchell's lawyer asked the man more questions about his interactions with police on the night.

The man said police caught up with him a few days later when he was caught sitting in the back seat of a stolen car.

"I knew something was up when I'm surrounded by, like, 20 police officers ... for being in or having a stolen car, so I knew something wasn't quite right."

The man was a suspect and the police questioned him about where he had been and what he had done on the night of the kidnapping.

"I'm being shown these photos of this woman and [it] just sort of blew me away that this had happened to her. She's a pretty girl and there's no way I would want anything bad to have happened to her."

He agreed to doing an interview with the police and provided a DNA sample.

The man confirmed he had prior convictions for kidnapping and rape.

Under cross-examination from Mr Mitchell's lawyer, Mark Ryan, the man was asked if he was spoken to by police at 12.26pm and 3.01am because he was being aggressive to women and making strong advances in the street.

The man denied that and said the officer was harrassing him.

"Between 12.30am, Sunday 26 February, and 3.01am, Sunday 26 February, between those two times, you were in Riverhead. Correct?" asked Mr Ryan.

The man denied that.

Later Mr Ryan asked: "You wanted to have sex with her?"

The witness replied, "Yeah, when we first met, yep. Not as I was walking and finding out how intoxicated she was."

The man denied being involved in the abduction.

The Crown said it was not the convicted rapist giving evidence in the witness box but Mr Mitchell who looked on from the dock.

The trial continues.