Cop convicted of indecent assault

Last updated 15:28 30/05/2014
Adam Dunnett
FAIRFAX NZ
Adam Dunnett

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A Hastings policeman has been found guilty on six charges of indecent assault.

In the Napier District Court today, three other charges against Constable Adam Dunnett were dismissed.

Dunnett, 37, stood trial this month on 10 counts of indecently assaulting teenage girls.

One count was dropped during the judge-alone trial before Judge Les Atkins.

Dunnett, a police officer for 10 years, denied all charges, which were alleged to have occurred while he was a volunteer lifeguard director at the Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

The alleged assaults on the girls, all older than 16, were said to have occurred between May 2011 and December 2012.

Dunnett has been suspended on full pay, and in an earlier court appearance lost a bid to keep his identity suppressed.

During the trial, Dunnett's lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, said his client acknowledged rubbing the backs of two girls at different times, but said his hands had not touched their buttocks.

If the court found that his hands had gone below their backs, then it was "accidental and extremely brief", Krebs said.

To the allegation that Dunnett had rubbed up against a complainant while dancing, Krebs said Dunnett had no recollection of "grinding" against the complainant, but agreed it could have happened.

"It was a toga party ... and there was exuberant and risque dancing at times ... it was not a Sunday school party."

Dunnett admitted lying on a bed next to the complainant and touching her breast.

Crown prosecutor Gavin Thornton said the five complainants had given "cogent" evidence, and two would have found it particularly hard to give evidence against someone they had liked and trusted.

They were "impressive" witnesses who were honest about what they could not remember, given their alcohol impairment and the length of time that had passed, Thornton said.

He said the difference in ages between the accused and the teenagers, and that Dunnett held a position of seniority at the surf club, should be taken into account.

Dunnett was remanded on bail until July 3.

The judge did not enter convictions today at Krebs' request. 

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