Lawyer questions rape evidence

Although DNA samples are said to link a Linton mechanic to a 2003 rape, his defence has questioned their handling.

Tony Russell Wells, 32, is on trial in the Palmerston North District Court on one charge each of rape and sexual violation from an alleged attack in the early hours of March 20, 2003.

He is accused of picking a middle-aged woman up from The Square and offering her a place to stay.

Instead, the Crown said, Wells drove her to the outskirts of the city and raped and violated her before dropping her off in town. He was accused of that crime after admitting a 2007 incident of sexual violation.

Wells was charged with the 2003 attack as the result of partial DNA match and finger print matches found on a used condom and condom wrapper found near the scene.

He is also facing two further sexual violation charges dating from November 2006 against a young woman in Palmerston North.

Judge Les Atkins and a jury heard a day of complicated evidence yesterday, mostly about DNA.

Sarah Cockerton, from ESR, said that in 2009, her laboratory received two swab samples taken from the woman Wells is accused of raping in 2003.

Male DNA was found on a breast swab and when it was run through the national DNA database, it was found to be a partial match of Wells.

Wells' lawyer, Simon Hewson, questioned the handling of the DNA extractions process and Ms Cockerton confirmed a staff member had made an error in their handling of the sampling.

The jury was told that Wells had been jailed for the 2007 incident.

The trial is continuing.

Manawatu Standard