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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Trial of a leading figure in the entertainment circle: the defense opened for the assault on the police case


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

Defense attorneys for a prominent figure in the entertainment industry have attacked the police investigation into the case, saying police were looking for more accusers, telling some he was a “predator” and then the women re-imagined their relationship with the man sexual contact. .

Hannah Stuart, who is working alongside Ron Mansfield KC on the entertainment leading man’s defense team, has formalized her case in the Rotorua High Court.

The man, who has been temporarily anonymous, is now facing 25 charges involving rape, sexual assault and drug-related offenses against nine women.

The man is accused of using his position in the entertainment industry to get what he wants from women.

Women were not all “fragile lilies” who could be easily manipulated or coerced, Stewart told the jury.

“Women are not powerless and weak, but none of these women are.”

She said everyone has done things they regret, which can include drinking heavily and having sex they wish hadn’t happened.

“Having regret and wishing things were different is a normal and acceptable part of life, but what is not acceptable is reinventing or reimagining things to cover up or explain regret. No one in this trial said sexual assault on women is acceptable … but equally unacceptable is the reimagining of a consensual sexual act as an involuntary one, even on reflection, perhaps after sobriety, that we regret.”

“There is strength in numbers,” she said, but in this case police had “searched” for other women the defendant had contacted in previous years to provide support to a woman who had lodged a complaint with police. was sexually assaulted.

“The more women come up to you suggesting that he’s a pervert or that he’s behaving inappropriately towards them, the more likely you are to accept that he’s sexually assaulting them.

“Through the investigation, they now found that a group of women were now ready to say something negative about him. Even innocuous claims like ‘he touched my leg’ or ‘he tried to kiss me in the car’ now add to the accusations, Trying to support this numbers game.”

Stewart said the “power of numbers” is further diminished when police, whether consciously or not, influence women to speak out in support of their cases.

“For example, tell the witnesses that the accused is a predator, tell them about the other accusers, say they need to make a statement in support of other women. Creepy, or maybe it wasn’t what I wanted at the time “to look back and re-remember.”

Stewart said there was an “agenda” that could bring him down.

“Why have the police never asked these women for their mobile phones?”

She said one of the accusers was a woman who had an affair with the defendant.

Stewart said the woman was hurt after their relationship ended.

“She was forced to see him suffer. She convinced others to join her along the way.”

The defendant did not deny that he used illegal drugs and was unfaithful, but she said the entire group he was associated with did the same.

“The band’s motto is ‘what happens on tour, stays on tour’.”

Many of the women they hang out with are often part of the showbiz and like to use drugs, she said.

“He was hungry, ambitious and had big dreams… He found himself living a life of alcohol, drugs and sex, which included sleeping with women who were not his wife.”

Stewart said the defendant’s wife was a strong woman who valued her family and loved him.

“She’s not a stupid woman who’s been tricked … she’s blind to what’s going on in a one-night stand, she’s very aware of what’s going on.”

Stewart said having a one-night stand while married is not a crime.

“no doubt [he] Will date women he finds attractive. He’ll try on and flirt, maybe with some women he shouldn’t, or at least now he wishes he didn’t. “

Stewart said he was attracted to all the women in the case except one complainant, but his contacts with all were consensual, or at least he had reason to believe it was.

She said women also approached him because of who he was, and they wanted his attention, what he had to offer and his money.

“They wanted a piece of him, and he offered that very generously. The problem is it attracts a lot of fake people, fake friends, who just want something.”

The defendants now know what went wrong, Stewart said.

“He’s the first guy to put up his hand and say he’s not an angel and he’s made mistakes, but that doesn’t mean he’s a criminal.”

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 prohibits the reporting of some details and 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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