Rape accused 'play fought' with wife

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2012

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A former Olympic athlete has told a jury he play fought with his former wife and slapped her twice, but he never raped or punched her.

The man, whose name is suppressed so as not to identify the complainants, took the witness stand yesterday in a retrial for physical and sexual assaults on two of his former partners.

Crown prosecutor Yelena Yelavich told the High Court at Auckland the defendant had a history of being abusive, angry and controlling against his former wife and girlfriend.

In one incident in 2008, the former wife alleged the defendant ripped up her study notes and raped her when she fobbed off his sexual advances.

The man said he remembered tearing up the notes in a heated argument when she refused to have sex with him, but denied raping her.

He told the jury he never forced his then-wife to have sex with him or struck her with his fists, but had slapped her on two occasions and grabbed her throat during a play-fight.

"I never punched my wife. Ever. I'm absolutely certain of that."

Throughout the trial, the man has showed little emotion and often struggled to recall events from the past relationships.

Many of the questions put to him over his alleged violent outbursts and sexual assaults were met with "no" or "it's not true".

The former Olympian stood trial in 2010 for sexual and physical assaults on his then-wife.

The jury found him not guilty of several counts but was unable to reach a decision on two counts of rape and one count of strangling the woman.

The man also faces additional allegations he had raped, sexually violated, assaulted and kidnapped another partner 10 years earlier.

Those charges, dating back to 1998, allege eight crimes including injuring with intent to injure, kidnapping, rape, and two representative charges of repeated rapes and sexual violations over the course of their relationship.

Defence lawyer Hugh Leabourne will argue there was no unlawful sex and no incidents of violence or kidnapping.

The trial before Justice Peters, which began last Monday, is scheduled for two weeks.

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- Auckland Now

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