Businessman convicted of groping driver in limo
One of Napier's most prominent businessmen has been convicted of indecently assaulting an employee in his stretched Hummer limousine.
Police laid charges against Rodney Green, 65, last year. His name was suppressed from his first court appearance on April 17, and was lifted yesterday when he was found guilty of two of six charges of indecent assault.
A former butcher, Green owns the Bluewater Hotel at Ahuriri, and a limousine and launch hire business. He built a successful business out of Napier Discount Meats and Medallion Foods bacon and smallgoods before entering the hospitality industry. Through sponsorship, he is associated with the Pettigrew-Green arena in Taradale and the Rodney Green Centennial Event Centre at Napier's McLean Park.
Green groped the breast of an employee and tried to kiss her as she drove him and a group of friends from a charity boxing event at the Pettigrew-Green Arena back to the Bluewater Hotel on January 28, 2012.
During a three-day trial in the Napier District Court, the woman told jurors Green repeatedly groped her and made crude comments about what he wanted to do to her. The jury found him not guilty of three charges related to assaults on the woman, and not guilty of another charge of indecently assaulting another employee on the same evening.
Green admitted leaving his head in the other employee's lap but argued, successfully, that this was not an indecent assault. He denied all allegations by the woman who drove the Hummer.
The Crown called evidence from eight witnesses, and Green took the stand in his own defence. The victim said the trip took 30 to 45 minutes and that she veered over the road while Green groped her. Others said the trip was closer to 15 to 20 minutes and they did not notice the vehicle veering.
One witness recalled the victim seeming distressed and asking him to remove Green from the front seat of the Hummer. Another said she was "as good as gold".
Crown lawyer Clayton Walker said it was clear that either Green or the victim had "lied through their teeth" and he urged the jurors to believe the victim.
Green's lawyer, Paul Mabey, QC, told the jury the woman's inconsistencies rendered all her evidence untrustworthy.
Green was remanded on bail and will be sentenced in May.
The Dominion Post