27 Feb 2019

'Implausible coincidence' if both women lying about police officer sex assault - Crown

7:09 pm on 27 February 2019

A prosecutor says it's almost inconceivable that two strangers would have alleged the same police officer sexually assaulted them in a similar way, if the allegations weren't true.

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Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Detective Inspector Kevin Burke pleaded not guilty to two charges of indecent assault, and two of unlawful sexual connection, relating to two women he met in the course of his job.

In her closing arguments to the jury, Crown Prosecutor Jo Murdoch asked them to use their logic and reason.

She outlined how two women, independent of one another, made detailed allegations about Mr Burke.

They said he abused the trust they'd put in him as a police officer, and sexually assaulted them in their own homes.

"There are striking similarities in this case that would make it an implausible coincidence if both women happen to be lying about what the defendant did to them," Ms Murdoch said.

Ms Murdoch said both women lived with what happened for many years, but could now recount the events in graphic detail.

She said the women felt they couldn't report it straight away.

"He was a police officer. She wasn't going to call police on the night of the 17th to report to police what a police officer had just done to her. Do you remember her evidence about that? He was the police."

In his closing argument, defence lawyer Arthur Fairley said the women's stories weren't credible.

He claimed the Crown ignored information that didn't suit its case, and the two women emailed each other a dozen times before the trial.

Mr Fairley told the jury one of them lied about a previous relationship and her interest in men.

"We know it's a lie. It's a beating lie in the heart of her credibility," he said.

Mr Fairley said the second complainant told the police Mr Burke had a tattoo on his right shoulder.

But Mr Burke testified that he has never had any tattoo.

Mr Fairley urged the jury not listen to the appeals to the heart - but to consider the evidence they'd heard over the last two and a half weeks.

"He [Mr Burke] has not changed his testimony one iota from day one."

Justice Sarah Katz will sum up the case tomorrow morning, before the jury retires to deliberate.

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