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Monday, April 22, 2024

Showbiz top man trial: Defendant admits to as many as 40 extramarital affairs


A prominent entertainment figure on trial for aggravated sex offenses has told a jury he had sex with as many as 40 other women during his marriage but said every sexual encounter was consensual.

The man is on trial in the High Court of Rotorua, where he is pleading guilty to 25 charges including rape, sexual assault and drug-related offences.

The allegations involved nine women over the years. The man’s name will be withheld until at least the conclusion of the trial, which is now in its ninth week.

The man has appeared in court to defend himself, detailing his affairs and illicit drug use.

He said he had “abstained from” drugs and alcohol as part of his bail conditions, but he was glad they were imposed.

“It feels good to be awake.”

The defendant said he was now spending quality time with his family – something his previous lifestyle would not have allowed him to do.

He said his mental health has also improved.

When asked by his lawyer, Ron Mansfield KC, how many times he had casual sex with other women, the defendant said it was about 30 to 40 times.

He said that in those years he was often on the party scene, and his lifestyle was the equivalent of Tinder now.

A leading figure in New Zealand's entertainment industry is on trial in the Rotorua High Court.Photo/Andrew Warner
A leading figure in New Zealand’s entertainment industry is on trial in the Rotorua High Court.Photo/Andrew Warner

“[We] Meeting people, hanging out, flirting, having sex… I fell into this lifestyle. I’m married but act single. “

Early in the defense trial, attorney Hannah Stewart criticized the police investigation, saying police should have demanded all phone information from the plaintiffs as they had done with the accused.

The defendant said that when he testified this week, he would delete all messages sent to him by multiple women because his wife was checking his phone.

However, he kept some messages, photos and videos sent to him by a woman with whom he had an affair. The woman is also the complainant.

The defendant told the jury he wished all the information had been withheld now.

“I will now be able to prove these false allegations.”

Mansfield asked the defendant why he had sex with so many different women.

The defendants said this was normal for the industry.

Mansfield asked whether the defendants would have had sexual encounters with women who were drunk or unable to consent, or if they did not want it to happen. He replied, “Absolutely not.”

He described being rejected several times after he tried to kiss women and walked away despite his embarrassment.

The defendant was also questioned about his drug use. When he first started working, he said, he worked long hours and used meth to stay sober.

He later started using cocaine and would mix the two.

He estimates that he uses one gram of cocaine, which costs about $500, and one “point” (0.1 gram) of methamphetamine, which costs between $200 and $250, per week.

He also sometimes uses ecstasy or ecstasy, but not at work.

The drugs meant he was able to socialize and be sober, he said, and he preferred cocaine over methamphetamine because it was considered “more elegant”.

Asked who else was taking drugs, the defendant said it seemed like everyone was doing drugs.

Probably 75 to 80 percent of the people in the industry are involved in drug activities, he said.

Mansfield asked the defendant how the drug would make him feel, and the defendant replied that he was awake and alert.

The defendant described his interaction with a woman and later an affair with her.

The woman later complained to police and the six charges leading to his current trial include rape and supplying illegal drugs.

At one point, he said, they were flirting in a car and the woman asked him if he wanted to see and touch her breasts, to which he said “yes.”

They stopped at a motel to have sex.

He said the incident confused him because he loved his wife but also had feelings for another woman.

After a woman filed a complaint in 2021 about being sexually assaulted by the accused, police were actively looking for more complainants, the defense said.

They say they played a “numbers” game trying to get as many people as possible to give evidence, and now the women are reimagining their sexual encounters with the accused and claiming they were illegal.

In the prosecution’s case, the defendant was “obsessed with sex” and used his popularity to get what he wanted from women, whether they wanted it or not.

In total, the defendants pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of indecent assault, four counts of sexual assault by rape, three counts of sexual assault by unlawful sexual relationship, two counts of attempted sexual assault, two counts of burglary, and one count of attempted sexual assault. One of the offenses was supplying ecstasy, one was supplying methamphetamine and another was knowingly attempting to obstruct justice.

The restraining order suppresses the reporting of some details and the names of others involved in the case. The trial, before Judge Lane Harvey, marks the start of its ninth week today.

Kelly Makiha is a veteran journalist who has written for rotorua daily mail Covering police, courts, human interests and social issues for over 25 years.


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