15 Oct 2018

Jury retires in historical rape trial

5:23 pm on 15 October 2018

A jury in the trial of a man accused of raping three women and a child four decades ago has retired to deliberate its verdicts.

Exterior of the Auckland High Court

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The man, who has name suppression, is standing trial in the High Court at Auckland.

He pleaded not guilty to six charges of rape, three charges each of indecency with a girl under 12 and indecent assault, two charges of threatening to kill and one each of attempted rape and burglary.

Some of the charges are representative.

Throughout the week-long trial the court has heard from four women, one of whom was a child at the time of the alleged offending.

One woman told the court the man, now aged in is 70s, made her perform a sex act in front of her children in a car.

Another woman told the court the man raped her after he answered a personal advertisement in the local newspaper.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey began his closing address by telling the jury of six men and six women each of the complainants had recounted details too specific and peculiar to make up.

He said he rejected suggestions some of the complainants had lied to support one another and said their stories corroborated one another.

In each case they tell a story of almost immediate physical control and sexual violence.

"There's a similar theme running through each story which lends weight to my argument to you that they've all got it right and are all telling the truth about what happened to them."

Mr McCoubrey said just because the alleged offending was historic, it didn't mean the women's evidence was any less true.

"Those three women have never met and don't know each other. They all tell those stories because this happened, that's why, its not coincidence," he said.

The man's defence lawyer Andrew McKenzie told the jurors the similarities in the women's' accounts were broad at best and did not discount significant differences in their stories.

It was important to put aside any feelings of sympathy or prejudice, he said.

"There is always prejudice against a man who is accused by one, two, three and in this case four people of offending against them. We hear the saying 'where there is smoke there is fire'; well not all the time."