Permanent name suppression for prominent New Zealander
A prominent New Zealand man found not guilty of multiple indecent assault charges has been granted permanent name suppression.
Justice Geoffrey Venning issued a judgement on Wednesday permanently suppressing the defendant's name, address and any identifying particulars.
A jury of 11 reached the unanimous not guilty verdicts at the High Court at Whangarei on Tuesday after an eight-day trial.
After hours of deliberation the jury rejected the Crown's contention that the man had "sneakily and surreptitiously" abused two young girls by touching their breasts, thighs and bottoms during the course of massages over several years since 2010.
The Crown had alleged the man had had pressured or forced the girls into receiving shoulder or foot massages.
The girls had also outlined other instances of alleged abuse including where they said the accused pushed his groin into them while their backs were turned, and put one of the complainants' foot onto his penis during a massage.
The complainants said he encouraged them to give him hugs and would become upset with them if they refused to comply.
They told police they feared he would "come onto" them or even "rape" them.
The man was charged with 12 counts of doing an indecent act against the two complainants following an Auckland police investigation.
The accused adamantly denied the allegations, spending a day on the witness stand.
He denied he had forced the massages, instead saying it was the girls who had asked him for the foot or shoulder rubs.
They were always with another adult present, and the other alleged acts he said "never happened".
Several witnesses gave evidence in support of him, saying they had seen the massages and had no concerns about them.
They had also witnessed the girls asking for massages, with one said to wriggle her foot at the accused to hint that she wanted one.
The accused said he believed the girls were lying for which "they have their reasons...I'm sure."
Defence lawyer Arthur Fairley produced half a dozen photographs of the accused in close company or embraces with the complainants, which he said the accused had gathered in a concerted effort to prove the allegations against him were baseless.
Fairley contended the girls would never have been in such close proximity with the accused, let alone be photographed with him, if he had abused them.