29 Feb 2016

Man on trial for rape of 11-year-old

5:22 pm on 29 February 2016

The lawyer for a man accused of raping a young girl in Whanganui in 1991 has told a jury his client is a paedophile but his previous offending was completely different from the charge he is now facing.

Daniel Bell, 39, is on trial in the High Court in Wellington on one charge of sexual violation by rape.

In his opening address, Crown prosecutor Harry Mallalieu told the court the rape occurred in a woolshed in Whanganui when the complainant was 11 and the accused was 15.

He said the accused put one hand across the girl's mouth and nose and used his other hand to pull her underwear aside and rape her.

"After this, she was distraught and returned home in some discomfort, went to the toilet and found blood in her undies and told her mother ... [She] recalls her mother's response that she had 'turned into a lady', as her mother mistakenly believed the girl was experiencing her first period."

The complainant told no-one about what had happened until October 2014 when Daniel Bell was charged with committing indecencies on other children, Mr Mallalieu said.

The woman felt a sense of responsibility for his offending against other young children, he said.

Mr Mallalieu said the jury would also hear evidence about other charges the accused had faced, including three relating to touching a nine-year-old girl, to which he pleaded guilty in January 2014.

He was found guilty last year of several indecency charges against young girls aged under the age of 12, which occurred between January 1999 and January 2011, he said.

Defence lawyer Fergus Steedman said his client had touched children on 15 other occasions but had never raped them.

His client's defence was that the incident that led to the charge before the court today did not happen, he said.

A jury of seven men and five women has been chosen to hear the case, which is expected to run until the the end of the week.