14 Feb 2019

Woman denies being pressurised into making sex assault complaint

6:11 pm on 14 February 2019

A woman accusing a top Northland detective of sexually assaulting her has denied she took the man to court because of pressure from another complainant.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

Detective inspector Kevin Burke has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault against two women. He is on trial at the High Court in Auckland.

The first complainant to give evidence, whose name is suppressed, said she met with Mr Burke in 2002 to discuss her worries about a man's fraudulent behaviour.

She said he later showed up to her house unannounced to talk about the case. He drunk beer and sexually assaulted her.

The woman did not tell anyone until 15 years later, in 2017, when she saw an article about another alleged incident against Mr Burke involving a younger woman.

She messaged a Facebook page expressing her support, thinking it was the official police complaints website.

The person running the website, who was an ordinary citizen, asked for details of Mr Burke's offending against the first complainant and whether it was of a sexual nature.

"I just emailed her back and said I never said that. . . I just said he was unprofessional for a police officer," said the first complainant in an earlier police interview.

The defence lawyer Arthur Fairley asked her why she did not disclose Mr Burke's alleged offending when she was first asked about it.

"To the person you thought was the official police complaints, when you're asked directly did he do something sexual to you, your response is he was inappropriate and unprofessional to you as a police officer," said Mr Fairley.

"I'm putting to you that on the 17th [of January 2002] there was consensual sexual activity but you thought this is not okay for a policeman on official business."

The first complainant denied that.

"I'm not going to type it [the offending] up and send it through as a message," she said.

Through the person running the website, the younger woman who laid the initial complaint then emailed the first complainant.

The pair exchanged several emails.

When asked by Mr Fairley whether she felt pressured to do something by the younger woman and also the person running the website, the first complainant said no.

She said her first thought about going to the police was that she did not want to get involved because she had put the incident to the back of her mind for a long time.

"I had just switched off from that time in my life."

The woman laid a formal complaint against Mr Burke later that year after discussing the matter with a friend.

The second complainant will also take to the stand later today.