A prominent businessman is due to be sentenced later this month for indecently assaulting three men over a 15-year period, and two charges of attempting to dissuade a witness.
The prominent businessman was found guilty of three charges of indecent assault relating to three men, and two charges of attempting to dissuade a witness.
Three men accused the businessman of indecently assaulting them at his house in 2001, 2008 and 2016.
The first complainant said he went to the man's house to discuss a charity deal in 2001, but unexpectedly found he was the businessman's only guest.
After dinner, the businessman asked him if he wanted to cuddle.
When the man left the house, he said the businessman thrust his hands down his pants, grabbing onto his genitals while the man tried to wrestle free.
The second complainant said the businessman groped his bottom and kissed him on the neck while showing him around his house in 2008.
In 2016, the third complainant was staying at the businessman's house when he became violently ill with food poisoning and went to bed.
The man said the businessman had come into his room completely naked and suggested they go back to his bedroom.
Later that night while he was still unwell, the complainant said he heard a knock at the door and the accused got into bed with him and started touching his penis and body.
The man said he tried to fight off the man and managed to flee to another room.
He continued to vomit that night and was taken to hospital, where he gave a statement to police about the assault.
Attempts to dissuade witnesses
About five months after the third complainant spoke to police, the businessman was charged with indecent assault.
Shortly after the charge was laid, the third complainant caught up with Mika X, a mutual friend of both his and the businessman.
The complainant said Mika X offered him a $15,000 cheque and future work opportunities if he dropped his complaint.
The Gold Coast plan
In May 2017, the third complaint was living in Australia and was planning to tell his story to local media where name suppression orders did not apply.
The businessman's manager and Mika X were involved in a plan to have the man meet with purported talent agents on the Gold Coast, arranging transport for him in a chauffeur-driven car to the meeting at the plush Palazzo Versace hotel.
The talent agents turned out to be public relations consultants Hamish Jevan Goulter and Allison Edmonds. They tried to convince him to drop his complaint, but their attempts failed.
Soon after the plan flopped, Goulter, Edmonds and the businessman's manager met at Family Bar on Karangahape Road.
The complainant never ended up speaking to journalists in Australia.
Goulter and Edmonds were granted immunity for giving evidence for the Crown in the trial of the prominent businessman.
The businessman's evidence
The businessman gave evidence in his own defence during his trial.
The rich-lister said he had no recollection of the first and second complainant and could not remember meeting them.
He never got into, or onto, a bed with the third complainant, he said.
The businessman said he had tried to help settle the third complainant while he was ill with food poisoning, and denied ever inappropriately touching the man,.
He said he knew nothing of the Gold Coast plot, calling the idea ridiculous.
The Crown and defences' cases
The Crown's case was that the businessman took advantage of others by using his powerful and influential position in criminal ways.
In his closing address to the jury, Crown prosecutor Simon Foote said it was not a coincidence that the businessman had been accused of indecent assault by three men, and that their complaints were similar.
"All these men are telling you the truth," he said.
Foote said the third complainant's claim began a "nightmare" for the accused - his reputation and business interests would be impacted if word got out about the complaints or if he was convicted.
The defence argued that the claims were made up and that the complainants visited the businessman with the intention of getting money from him.
Defence lawyer David Jones told the jury in his closing address that the prominent businessman had been targeted.
"That's one of the drawbacks of being successful and being influential," he said.
He questioned the motives of the complainants.
"They want to bring someone down, for whatever reason, and this is their way of doing it.
"They know that they have [name] suppression, as a matter of law, so they can come along and throw rocks and not be named," Jones said.
After deliberating for 11-and-a-half hours, a jury unanimously found the prominent businessman guilty of indecently assaulting three men and trying to bribe one to drop his case.
His manager was also found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The businessman and his manager were originally due to be sentenced at the same hearing.
However, the businessman will now be sentenced on 27 May after his defence lawyer David Jones sought an adjournment on behalf of the rich-lister due to health concerns.
In a court minute released last week, Justice Venning said the adjournment was sought due to the businessman showing a number of symptoms of concern to his doctor and specialists.
Justice Venning said the man's doctor had arranged a number of specialist tests, but the results would not be known and a treatment plan could not begin until 17 May.
In those circumstances, Jones had sought an adjournment of the sentencing to the week of 24 May, Justice Venning said.
The key players
Also known as Mika Haka, Mika X is a famed New Zealand entertainer, singer, film maker and actor. He has appeared in a number of films and TV shows, including The Piano and Shortland Street.
He also stood for The Opportunities Party in Auckland Central for the 2017 general election.
Mika X pleaded guilty to attempting to two charges of attempting to dissuade a witness and was sentenced to 11 months home detention.
Hamish Jevan Goulter and Allison Edmonds:
Public relations consultants and business associates Goulter and Edmonds were immunity witnesses in the trial. They were involved in the Gold Coast plot to bribe the third complainant to drop his complaint.
Jevan Goutler had worked for number of different political parties.
Most recently, he was campaign manager for Hannah Tamaki's Vision NZ party before being sacked after he made offensive comments online about Kanoa Lloyd.
- December 2001: Indecent assault of first victim
- February 2008: Indecent assault of second victim
- October 2016: Indecent assault of third victim, who files a police complaint
- April 2017: Mika X meets with the third victim and tries to convince him to drop the complaint by offering him a cheque for $15,000 and future work opportunities
- May 2017: The 'Gold Coast plot' plays out, but attempts to get the man to retract his statement fail
- May 2017: The manager and the PR consultants Jevan Goutler and Allison Edmonds meet at Family Bar on Karangahape Road to plan their next steps
- March 2019: A trial starts in the Auckland District Court, where the businessman pleads not guilty to indecent assault and attempts to dissuade a witness. He stands trial with Mika X, who has name suppression at the time, and his manager who plead not guilty to attempting to dissuade a witness
- March 2019: The trial is aborted, and a mistrial declared
- May 2019: The trial is moved to Auckland High Court
- February 2021: A trial starts in Auckland High Court before Justice Geoffrey Venning and a jury. The prominent businessman and his associate are tried concurrently. Just before the trial's start, Mika X pleads guilty to attempting to dissuade a witness
- March 2021: A jury unanimously finds businessman and his manager both found guilty of all charges in the High Court trial
- March 2021: Name suppression drops for Mika X and he is sentenced to home detention for attempting to dissuade a witness
- May 2021: The manager, who has name suppression, is sentenced to home detention for attempting to dissuade a witness