Girl, 15, saw sex attacks accused as' foster dad'

A 60-year-old Nelson man is standing trial on 18 charges of sexual offences, including rape, on a teenager his family was fostering.

At the start of the trial in the High Court at Nelson yesterday, the man, who has name suppression, admitted a related charge of supplying the teenager with cannabis.

The charges he has denied include a charge of raping a girl under 16 and three charges of raping a female over 16 years old, and charges of unlawful sexual connection, indecent assault and assault on a child. Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said the offences happened from last October to February.

The accused lived with his then partner and children at a Nelson address. The complainant had been a friend of the family, in particular the accused's partner, for years.

Late last year the complainant moved in with the family. She was 15.

"She was effectively a foster daughter to the accused. She lived with them as a family, as a second family. She looked upon the accused and his partner as father, mother figures."

Mr Webber said shortly after the teenager moved in the accused's partner got a new job at night.

The Crown said that the accused waited until his partner went to work and would give the complainant alcohol - ready-to-drink vodka drinks - and sometimes cannabis.

The first time he sexually abused the girl he gave her cannabis and alcohol.

The girl could remember nothing from that night, but woke up in her bed the next morning feeling sore.

The accused told her they had had sex, and that it would be OK.

Mr Webber said the girl was really scared.

There were a number of other incidents, but she was unable to be precise about when they happened or how many there were.

The complainant said the accused sexually assaulted her in a variety of ways and performed a variety of sexual acts on her. He would sometimes cause her pain and sometimes rub a cream on her.

The girl turned 16 in the middle of the offending.

The complainant tried to cut herself one day as she was upset when she learnt the accused was not moving out of the house as she thought.

She told the accused's partner what had been going on and, after getting medical help, she was interviewed by police.

Mr Webber said police searched the accused's house and found a couple of pre-mixed alcohol drinks.

Later in February they searched his house another time and seized a number of sex toys and found tubes of lubricant and a tube of anaesthetic cream.

Defence lawyer John Sandston said the accused had not had sex with the girl when she was under age. There had been some sexual contact, but not until she was 16.

Mr Sandston told the jury the first thing he would say on behalf of his client was that it was a court of law, not a court of morals.

He said the Crown had the burden of proof and had to prove things had happened, and he urged the jury to look at the demeanour of people giving evidence, as well as listening to what they were saying, to assess whether they were credible.

Mr Sandston said his client did not accept all the different things the Crown alleged.

He denied the first charge of raping the girl when she was unconscious.

He admitted there were occasions where he had sex with the girl, but it was consensual and she was over 16.

The Nelson Mail