A severely disabled woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by her caregiver in a rest home shower had suffered a "serious breach of trust", the Crown says.
The pre-recorded evidence of the bed-ridden complainant, aged in her 40s, will be shown at the High Court at Auckland this week in the trial of Davis Mwale. Mwale is accused of inappropriately sexually assaulting the woman while showering her in alleged incidents in January and February.
The trial began yesterday.
The woman had been a resident at the Avondale rest home since 2007. Mwale also started work at the care facility in 2007.
She suffers from the debilitating illness neurofibromatosis, where tumours on her spine and brain slowly shut down parts of her body. She is deaf, almost blind and struggles with balance and incontinence as a result.
At the time of the alleged incidents she only needed help washing her hair and lower legs, Crown prosecutor Kirsten Lummis said yesterday. Only in more recent months as her incontinence worsened did she need more help showering.
"What took place was a serious breach of trust," Ms Lummis said.
The Crown had to prove the violation took place, and that it was non-consensual.
Mwale's lawyer John Mackie told the jury the case would boil down to "he said, she said".
The complainant was suffering fecal incontinence and needed more help showering in February, Mr Mackie said.
"It was Mwale's job to wash her and wash her on her private parts if necessary. That was his job."
He asked the jury to pay attention when listening to the complainant's evidence, which he said differed between the first and second recordings.
The Crown will call 11 witnesses during the trial, including the complainant's neurosurgeon, who will describe her medical condition, and the doctor who examined her following the complaints.
The court will also hear from caregivers who worked with the complainant, the caregiver who trained Mwale, and the police detective who investigated the case.
The trial is expected to last for four days.
- © Fairfax NZ News