9 May 2019

Suppression in serial groping case lifts for Trembath after rape acquittal

4:09 pm on 9 May 2019

One of two men acquitted of raping and sexually violating a woman at a Napier hotel after a night out, can now be revealed as the serial groper who indecently assaulted 11 women in 2017.

28072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Napier Court

Napier District Court Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

It took a Napier High Court jury seven hours to deliver a not guilty verdict for Jason Trembath and Joshua Pauling, who were accused of raping and sexually violating a woman at a Napier hotel after a night out in August 2017.

The end of the case means it can now be revealed that in March, Trembath pled guilty to 11 charges of indecently assaulting 11 young female joggers on separate occasions in Hawke's Bay and Rotorua.

Trembath's groping victims included schoolgirls and women with their children as they ran or exercised in public parks or streets, according to a police summary of facts.

"On three occasions he committed offences on two women on the same day by travelling between locations," the summary said.

His first two victims were assaulted on 26 September 2017, in different locations in Rotorua while both were exercising. Trembath was in town on business at the time.

Three days later, he followed and assaulted a woman while she was jogging in Taradale.

Over the next month he indecently assaulted women running in Ahuriri, Napier Hill and a schoolgirl in Havelock North as she exercised with a friend.

On two separate occasions he targeted women who were with their young children at the time in Havelock North Domain and in Napier.

It was while police were investigating Trembath for the assaults that they discovered a photo he had posted on his Taradale Cricket Club team's closed Facebook page, which showed Pauling "straddling" the woman and grinning at the camera while performing a sexual act.

During the rape trial the court heard the woman was heavily intoxicated and had no idea she had been the victim of a sexual assault until police showed her the photograph three months later.

Trembath pleaded guilty to making and distributing an intimate visual recording in the rape case because of the photograph, and the jury found Pauling guilty of being party to the making of that intimate visual recording.

Trembath will be sentenced for the 11 indecent assault offences on June 21.