Witness denies newspaper influence

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:30 13/12/2012

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A woman who says she was violated by a Linton mechanic has been questioned about the similarities between her version of events and an attack on another woman detailed in the Manawatu Standard.

Tony Russell Wells, 32, is on trial in the Palmerston North District Court facing two charges of sexually violating a woman in November 2006.

In 2008 a Standard article described a separate violation offence Wells has admitted.

The woman, who says she was violated in 2006 when Wells picked her up in his car as she walked home from town, was asked by defence lawyer Simon Hewson yesterday about her account of what happened.

She did not complain to police until 2010, but said she read the newspaper article in 2008.

"Can I put to you that the detail of this allegation comes from the article," Mr Hewson said.

He said something happened to the woman but after reading the article she had "replaced the offender with this man [Wells]".

The woman disagreed.

"I believe it's him," she said.

"I don't have a single doubt."

Mr Hewson wondered why the woman did not identify Wells as her attacker despite him coming into her workplace regularly.

"I was scared and I didn't think [the police] would be able to do anything due to lack of evidence," the woman said.

"I simply thought that the person was following me to make sure I didn't do such things."

The woman agreed there was a "remarkable" similarity between what she said happened to her and what she read in the newspaper.

She also agreed that she revealed only some details of the alleged violation when giving evidence at court - including that Wells allegedly approached her asking for directions.

The woman said that was something she remembered only when given the chance to think things over.

Wells is also accused of raping and sexually violating another woman in March 2003.

The trial continues.

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