A leading figure in the New Zealand entertainment industry is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua. Photo / Andrew Warner
A leading entertainment figure said he “felt like a dick” when a woman he kissed told him she didn’t want to kiss him again.
He said looking back on it now, he realises she didn’t want anything to happen and he later worried he had sexually assaulted her when he tried to kiss her again.
But it wasn’t until after the second attempt, he said she gave him a “firm no”, which was when he said he backed off.
The man is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua, where he is defending 25 charges including rape, sexual assault and drug-related offending.
The charges relate to nine women over several years. The man has interim name suppression and details relating to the man and the complainants can’t be published for legal reasons.
The man has taken the stand this week to give evidence.
He is accused of using his position in the industry to get what he wanted sexually from women but the defence alleges the women have re-imagined consensual sexual encounters as being “creepy” to support a woman who made the first complaint to police.
The defence alleges police “went searching” for more complainants to boost their “numbers” when the sexual contact with the man was in fact consensual.
The defendant has this week told the jury he had sex with up to 40 women while married over the years. He said he had been clean from drugs and alcohol for two years.
During questioning from his lawyer, Ron Mansfield KC, yesterday afternoon , the defendant described his version of events relating to alleged sexual offending against the woman who first went to police to lay a complaint.
The woman was the first complainant to give evidence eight weeks ago and told the jury she went away with the defendant and his family and during the night the defendant went into her room and sexually violated her.
She said he was drunk, he kissed her when she didn’t want him to, lifted her out of the bed and held her against a wall where he sexually violated her.
Relating to this complainant, he is charged with three counts of indecently assaulting the woman by kissing her and twice touching her body under clothing. He’s also charged with sexually violating her by unlawful sexual connection or attempting to sexually violate as an alternative charge.
During his evidence this week the defendant said the woman kissed him back but then she started to worry his wife was in a room nearby and said she didn’t want to. The defendant said he suggested they get a motel the next day.
He said looking back now, he realised the woman only agreed to getting a motel the next day because she was using it as an excuse to make him stop. He denied any of the other sexual offences happened.
“I felt like a dick. Now that I look back the second kiss could be an assault.”
Mansfield asked the defendant if he kissed her after she said no and the defendant replied: “No, that’s when it stopped [when she said a firm no].”
Earlier in his evidence, the defendant told the jury he was surprised about being charged with serious sexual offences relating to another complainant because he had been having casual sex with her in the weeks beforehand.
The woman was an entertainment hopeful who admitted to the jury during her evidence at the end of May she had had consensusal sex with the man beforehand and after the alleged sexual offending.
She agreed to go on a trip with him because it could help further her career but she claimed that while they were out drinking, he put white powder on his finger and put it in her mouth. They went back to their accommodation, where she said she thought she would be sleeping in a single bed by herself. It was there she said he raped her.
She said she had memory flashes including being naked and the man sexually assaulting her. The next morning she woke in the man’s bed and discovered the sheets had blood on them. She said she was sore on parts of her body and knew it was from the man forcing himself on her.
The jury heard the woman admitted having consensual sex again with the man five days after the trip.
The defendant said he had had sex twice with the young woman at the hotel leading up to the trip – not once before the trip as the woman told the jury – as well as five days after the trip. Mansfield produced bank statements with three hotel payments which he said were for room payments for the times he had sex with the woman.
The defendant said when he asked her to go on the trip, it was clearly intended to be a night away together following on from their earlier sexual encounters. He said they held hands in the car on the way there and kissed in the bathroom while getting ready to go out.
At a party he said he had arranged for someone to bring some cocaine and after the person delivered it, he said he and the young woman did a “bump” – a small amount – to try it out.
They kept drinking, went to get some food in the early hours of the morning and then walked to their accommodation. He said the young woman was tipsy but she consented to sex.
In total, the defendant has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of indecent assault, four of sexual violation by rape, three of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, two of attempted sexual violation, two of burglary, one of assault with intent to commit sexual violation, one of supplying MDMA, one of supplying methamphetamine and one of willfully attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The trial is before Justice Layne Harvey.
Kelly Makiha is a senior journalist who has reported for the Rotorua Daily Post for more than 25 years, covering mainly police, court, human interest and social issues.