Question is if thief is also rapist

A defence lawyer has pleaded with a jury to look past his client's ''facial art'' as they consider if he is a rapist.

Tony Thackery, speaking in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, said John Tamati Williams, 32, was a ''humble, caring man'', despite his appearance.

Williams, from Hamilton, has Mangu Kaha gang insignia tattooed on his head and arms, including a fist on each cheek and the back of his head.

The Mangu Kaha gang is an offshoot of Black Power.

Williams is accused of three counts of sexual violation from an incident on December 3, 2010.

On that night, Williams had been at a party on Crewe Cres and was drunk.

He broke into a house in the street and stole a wallet and some car keys.

After breaking into another property, Williams found a man on the street and threatened to rob him.

In relation to those events, Williams has already pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and a charge of ''aggressively demanding''.

It is alleged he then entered a property where a 24-year-old woman was having a cigarette on her porch while her three young children slept in the lounge.

In his opening address, Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk said Williams stopped the woman from closing the door and entered the lounge.

He demanded car keys, which the complainant did not have.

Mr Vanderkolk said it was after this that things became more sinister.Williams told the complainant to sit on a mattress in the lounge.

After that, he sexually violated her, raped her, then made her perform oral sex, Mr Vanderkolk said.

''She thought she had little choice, because her three young children were sleeping in the room at the time.''

He said the complainant managed to get her children, leave the house and call 111 after Williams fell asleep.

Police arrived at the property just after 1am and found Williams asleep on a mattress in the lounge with his fly down, Mr Vanderkolk said.

Mr Thackery said it could not be proved there was any physical contact.

The trial, in front of Judge Les Atkins, is set down for four days.

This is the second trial for the sexual violation charges, after Williams' last trial was unable to be completed.

Manawatu Standard