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A leading figure in the New Zealand entertainment industry is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua. Photo / Andrew Warner
The first woman to complain to police about a leading New Zealand entertainment figure cried while giving evidence today when the man’s lawyer suggested she kissed him willingly.
She is the Crown’s first witness in its case against the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
He is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua facing 25 rape, sexual assault and drug-related charges relating to nine complainants.
Among the allegations are that he forced white powder in the mouths of some complainants and raped them. Some claim they did not have control of their bodies.
The defence says police built a case against the man after the first woman complained and it had now become a “MeToo fest” with women “reinventing” occasions they spent with the man.
Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield KC told the jury in a brief opening address on Thursday that the man admitted being involved with the “sex and drugs” scene but he was popular and didn’t need to ply women with alcohol and drugs to have relationships with them.
Through questioning by Crown solicitor Anna Pollett today, the first complainant described how she was asked by the man’s wife to go away with them and their family. However, she said the man sexually assaulted her after the first night and she left the next morning because she felt uncomfortable.
She said she knew the man’s wife but only met the man the day she was sexually assaulted.
The witness said she was asleep when he woke her and asked if she would sober-drive him to a party. She said she didn’t mind.
Afterwards she went back to bed and the man woke her again about 3am. He gave her a “big hug” and thanked her for drivingearlier.
She found it unusual because she had only just met him that day. He told her he was going to kiss her, grabbed her face and did so. He picked her up by her waist and pushed her against a door, using his body to hold her there. He began sexually assaulting her, she said.
“It didn’t feel real, to be honest. I had just woken up from a deep sleep to this.”
She said she resisted several times and told him to stop and was shocked that he was trying to cheat on his wife, who she understood was asleep in another room.
The man left the room for 30 seconds but returned with a can of alcohol and continued sexually assaulting her, she said. She detailed to the jury what he did to her, and said she resisted several times.
Under cross-examination, Mansfield queried why she later told police the man had come into the room the second time, turned off the light and asked her to turn off her phone light.
Mansfield said that indicated she was already awake and was on her phone.
The woman said she couldn’t remember those details, but it was possible she was still awake the second time.
Mansfield asked if it was true the man asked to kiss her and she responded by kissing him back.
The woman broke down crying on the witness stand and denied the actions were consensual.
“He had his tongue down my throat. I was turning my head trying to get away from his mouth.”
She said under cross-examination that the man unclipped her bra. “It was very swift. Almost like he had done it 100 times before.”
She said during her evidence earlier that the sexual assault stopped only when another man walked into the bedroom and noticed she was upset.
She said that man was kind to her and made sure she was OK and spent the rest of the night with her, but not in her bed.
The next morning she left and drove to a nearby town, where she called her sister and told her something bad had happened. She asked if she could be picked up because she was too panicked to drive, she said.
The woman’s sister told their parents, who contacted the police. She gave a statement later that day.
She said under cross-examination that the defendant suggested they continue the next day in a hotel and she agreed. She said she did so because she felt it was her only “out” to get “this disgusting man” off her.
Mansfield suggested she was giving the man the impression she was “into it” and they should carry on the next day at a hotel away from his wife.
The woman said: “Absolutely not.”
Mansfield suggested she had made up the story about being sexually assaulted because another man had walked in on them and she was worried the defendant’s wife would discover they were “making out”.
She said: “Absolutely not.”
The trial is before Justice Layne Harvey and a jury of nine women and three men. It is set down for six weeks.
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When Pete started building his tiny home he had no idea he was doing anything illegal.