Man acquitted in blackmail-for-sex trial
A Christchurch man has been acquitted on all charges after a four-day blackmail-for-sex trial in the High Court.
Justice Cameron Mander discharged Liam James Purcell after the jury returned its verdicts after about two hours of deliberation.
The Crown had alleged Purcell, 43, had coerced a Filipino woman into sex by threatening to disclose naked pictures he had found on her laptop computer after offering to fix it.
He had denied two charges of having unlawful sexual connection knowing that consent had been induced by a threat, and two of blackmail.
One of the blackmail charges was dismissed after a defence application at the end of the Crown case yesterday.
The woman had recently moved to Christchurch from overseas and the defence questioned her about online exchanges she had had with Purcell before two meetings she had with him where she claimed she was coerced into oral sex.
Before embarking on a long and detailed cross-examination of the complainant, defence counsel James Rapley told the jury that the issues in the trial would be consent and credibility.
Purcell did not give evidence at the trial.
Through his lawyer, he declined to comment after the verdicts.
Rapley and Penny Brown appeared for the defence. Kathy Bell appeared for the Crown.