Jailed sex offender's appeal adjourned

Last updated 13:37 22/07/2014

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An appeal by a jailed sex offender has been adjourned so the court can hear from a DNA expert.

Palmerston North mechanic Tony Russell Wells, 34, was in 2012 found guilty of one charge each of raping and sexually violating a mentally ill woman in 2003.

He was last year sentenced to eight years' jail in the Palmerston North High Court.

Defence lawyer Simon Hewson argued in the Court of Appeal in Wellington today that a jury could not have reasonably convicted Wells based on the evidence.

Wells was charged with the attack as the result of a partial DNA match on a swab taken from the woman's breast, and finger print matches found on a used condom and condom wrapper found near the scene.

But Hewson questioned the integrity of the DNA, saying the samples had been poorly stored and had degraded as a result. 

A signature on one of the envelopes containing the sample was illegible.

"I reviewed the evidence and took the view that there had been a miscarriage of justice," Hewson said.

"There is a significant background that didn't come out in the trial."

At the same jury trial, Wells was found not guilty of sexually violating a woman in 2006.

But he had previously pleaded guilty to sexually violating a woman in 2007.

The hearing is expected to reconvene on August 29.

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- Fairfax Media

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