After two weeks of evidence, the rape trial of Linton mechanic Tony Russell Wells could end today.
Wells, 32, is facing one charge each of rape and sexual violation of a woman in 2003. He also faces two further sexual violation charges from a night in November 2006.
The Palmerston North District Court jury has been told Wells pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual violation in 2008 from an incident the year before.
The jury retired to consider the verdicts early this afternoon.
In all three cases, Wells is accused of picking up women late at night and offering them a ride home before taking them to the outskirts of Palmerston North and violating them.
Yesterday, the defence and prosecution laid out their cases.
In his 70-minute closing address, Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk said the 2007 incident was important to consider, as it showed how Wells worked. "He uses the approach of a conman. He is a convincing conman as he appears to be genuine and is persuasive in offers of assistance."
He said Wells could not be trusted, as he had tried to tell police he had never had sexual activity near the airport. However, a used condom and condom wrapper with Wells' DNA and fingerprints were found there. The complainant's testimony proved the sexual contact was not consensual, Mr Vanderkolk said.
He said the 2006 complainant's testimony was far too similar to the other cases for the offender to be anyone else but Wells.
Defence lawyer Simon Hewson spent most of his 90-minute closing address telling the jury the DNA and fingerprint evidence from the 2003 allegations had to be ignored. He said the DNA sample was unaccounted for for 18 months, was stored in bad conditions, deteriorated, then relabelled and redated.
Mr Hewson said the fingerprint officer had done a poor job and did nothing to refute the claim that a fingerprint linking Wells to the 2003 allegations could be from someone else. "That evidence shouldn't be in front of you."
He said the complainant in the 2006 case was unreliable, citing differences between her original police statement and what was said in court.
He said she had fabricated her complaint, basing it on a Manawatu Standard article about the 2006 sexual violation crimes Wells had admitted, which had nothing to do with the charges before the court. Judge Les Atkins was to sum up this morning, before the jury retired .
- © Fairfax NZ News
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