Assault was not a dream, girl tells jury
A former prominent person's world was "turned upside down" following allegations from his stepdaughter that he indecently assaulted her, a Nelson District Court jury has been told.
The man, who has name suppression, has denied three charges of indecently assaulting the teenager on December 30, 2009.
His defence lawyer, Pip Hall, said the man was a victim of unreliable allegations.
"On December 31  his world was turned upside down.
He was completely distraught when police confronted him with the allegation.
"He has been waiting a long time to defend these charges and to say he is not guilty."
Judge Peter Butler told the jury of six men and six women the hearing was a retrial but they should not speculate about that.
The girl has alleged her stepfather indecently touched her breast while watching television in the lounge of their Nelson home and later in her bedroom indecently touched her and kissed her.
Prosecutor Mark O'Donoghue said the essential ingredient of the trial was whether it actually happened.
Mr Hall said the defence case was that "these alleged acts did not happen".
He said the first the man knew about the allegation was when police arrived on New Year's Eve at the family home where they had lived for about five years, and told him of the allegation of abuse by his stepdaughter.
"He goes with the police and is devastated. He is prohibited from returning to the family home for nearly three years."
Constable Mary Brice, who interviewed the girl, acknowledged that after the evidential interview, she had given the girl positive reinforcement.
Mr Hall said: "You went a little further to suggest you believed her story, saying that is a horrible thing that happened to you."
Ms Brice agreed that it was inappropriate.
Asked if she accepted that for a child of the girl's age given reinforcement, it would then be impossible for her to say something different than the story she had given, Ms Brice replied: "Maybe". She conceded her remarks could be construed as not being independent and also confirmed that in the interview the girl had reversed the order of when the alleged assaults in the bedroom had happened.
The jury was shown a DVD of the girl's evidential interview recorded on December 31 2009. In it she told of the man stroking her breast for five minutes while they watched television in the lounge, then later coming into her bedroom, telling her to be quiet because her mother was still awake, and rubbing her indecently and kissing her back as she rolled away.
Mr Hall told the girl the man said that no such thing happened.
"It did happen," she replied.
She denied that it could have been a dream or a fantasy.
The girl confirmed that cider she drank that night was her first glass of alcohol.
She also told of a medical condition, nephrotic syndrome, and of the prednisone medication she took to control it. She said she was not taking it at the time of the allegations but could not say when she had last taken the tablets in 2009. She agreed she had not been told of some side effects.
The girl told her mother about the incident when they went for a walk the next day. Asked why she had not told her that night, she said she had been in shock and thought he would come in while she was telling her mother.
Mr Hall said she had an opportunity to tell her mother about the man touching her chest when she went from watching television to her bedroom.
"I suggest the reason you didn't go and take that opportunity was it did not happen and that you dreamt this as part of a vivid dream," said Mr Hall.
"It was not a dream," she said.
The trial is set to continue until Friday.
- © Fairfax NZ News