Former Olympian denies punching woman
A former Olympian has denied punching a woman up to 30 times at "full force" in the ribs.
The man, whose name is suppressed so as not to identify the complainants, took to the witness stand again this morning in a retrial for physical and sexual assaults on two of his former partners in the High Court at Auckland.
He is also defending charges of raping, sexually violating, assaulting and kidnapping 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.
On the witness stand the man impassively denied assaulting the woman telling the jury they never had an abusive argument, but argued like "any ordinary couple would".
"Given we're human, we may have had an argument," he said.
The woman's cousin, who also gave evidence today, told the jury the couple were "happy" and she had not witnessed any abuse in the time she shared an apartment with the woman, who was visited regularly by the man.
"I would have stepped in if there was any abuse in my apartment and kicked them out," she said.
However, Crown prosecutor Yelena Yalavich suggested the woman did not have "an independent memory" as she failed to recall dates and scenarios from 1998.
It was also noted that she was on "non-speaking terms" with her cousin.
The woman said she was not aware of an assault where the defendant allegedly hit his partner with the back of his hand, on the face, arms and shoulders.
However, she conceded there may have been incidents of violence at the apartment while she was not there.
Yalavich told the court the defendant had a history of being abusive, angry and controlling against his former wife and girlfriend.
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.
Yesterday, the man 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.
The trial before Justice Peters is expected to close tomorrow.
- © Fairfax NZ News