Man had fascination for school girls - lawyer

Last updated 16:42 04/07/2013
Justin Ames Johnston
JUSTIN AMES JOHNSTON: On trial for attempted sexual violation.

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A man found near a 16-year-old girl's sleepout at an Upper Hutt house had twice committed intruder rapes and had a sexual fascination for schoolgirls, a jury has been told.

The jury of 10 women and two men in the High Court at Wellington was today told they should not jump to the conclusion that Justin Ames Johnston was guilty because he had done things like that before.

But the fact that he had broken into two homes, one in 1993 and the other in 1994, and raped females was evidence they could take into account, Crown prosecutor Grant Burston said.

Johnston, 43, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted sexual violation of the girl in the sleepout on July 19, 2010.

The jury has heard that Johnston was caught by the girl's father before anything could happen to her.

The father went to get firewood and saw Johnston crouching several metres from the sleepout.

Johnston was chased and caught nearby but let go when he threatened the father with what was alleged to be a garden fork.

A police dog tracked him down soon after.

In his final address Mr Burston said the defence case was that Johnston just wanted to "steal stuff".

But there was evidence Johnston had been in the area several times in the previous week without anything being taken from the amply stocked garage at the house.

With the whole of the Hutt Valley to choose from Johnston chose a house with a burglar alarm, sensor lights, a family obviously at home, and a 16-year-old girl alone in a sleepout, Mr Burston said.

Although Johnston had previous convictions for burglary most of them were from the 80s, when he was a teenager.

His two most recent burglary convictions were when he broke into the houses of his rape victims, one of them a 15-year-old girl who was abducted from her bedroom with her parents sleeping nearby.

Defence lawyer Brendan Horsley is also to address the jury this afternoon. The jury will retire after Justice Jill Mallon sums up the case tomorrow morning.

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- The Dominion Post

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