3 Oct 2018

Taimo trial: Woman charged after approaching jurors

5:24 pm on 3 October 2018

A woman has been charged with contempt of court after approaching members of a High Court jury and telling them her thoughts on a child sex abuse trial.

Alosio Taimo on trial in the Auckland High Court.

Alosio Taimo on trial in the Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Edward Gay

As the woman was sent to the cells for the afternoon, she said "God bless" while being led away by security.

The unusual move happened at the trial of former teacher aide and rugby coach Alosio Taimo, who is on trial at the High Court in Auckland where he faces 106 charges in relation to 18 boys.

The woman had been sitting in the public gallery and conversing with Mr Taimo's family outside court.

Justice Moore today read from a note that the jurors had passed him, following the lunch break.

"You report that she engaged in small talk and said something along the lines: 'I know I'm not supposed to talk to you. I was unsure at the start but now I think the truth is coming out. I think he's telling the truth'. She also is reported as saying something along the lines of: 'It makes you wonder if the real culprit is still out there'."

Justice Moore said the woman also offered the jurors muffins.

"One of you in your note added that after this conversation, the woman it seems approached you again and said: 'She shouldn't be talking to you and could get herself and you in trouble'. At the bottom of your note, is a note that I believe is from your foreman: 'This frustrates us, the jury have tried our best to be professional, during this long trial'."

The judge said the woman was not known to anyone involved in the trial and encouraged them to put aside her stupid comments.

"It's apparent that she's taken upon herself to make remarks to you which are highly irresponsible and have the potential to strike at the very heart of our jury system. Put bluntly, it should never have occurred."

Justice Moore called the woman back into court, late in the afternoon and released her on bail but ordered she not come within 5km of the court until next Thursday, when she is due back in court.

Her lawyer Aaron Perkins QC said there had been many tears and tissues as he had told her of the possible consequences of her actions.

Earlier the court heard further evidence from Mr Taimo as he was taken through the 106 charges by his lawyer Tua Saseve.

"That's never happened, all those charges never happened."

Mr Taimo told the court that he was never alone with a student in the sports shed where the Crown said some of the sexual abuse happened.

"The school rules for sports monitors when they do their jobs, they have to go in pairs, that means they have to go in twos, just to keep them safe."

He said the sports shed was always open to passers-by.

"When they're actually inside doing a job, the roller doors have to be open and it has to be open until they finish doing the job because it is dark, there is no light, you can't even see anybody inside the PE, so you can't do the job if the doors are down."

Mr Saseve asked about allegations that he would send the rest of the students away and keep one behind that he would then sexually abuse.

Mr Taimo said that never happened.

For the first time today, the question of why the 18 boys would make up the charges was put to Mr Taimo. He said he didn't know why some of the boys had made the allegations but one of them had blamed him for failing to make a sports team.

"The reason I think is because he says I'm holding him back from his game. I won't hold anyone back from the sports that they enjoy. I actually push them to the limit to reach the goals that they actually want, not only the sports but academically."

Mr Taimo said he had fed the boys and put a roof over their heads for no money. He is expected to be cross-examined tomorrow.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs