Litany of abuse disturbing - judge

Last updated 13:00 17/12/2013

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A jury was offered trauma counselling after finding a man guilty of domestic violence and sexual abuse considered "worse than a modern day Once Were Warriors".

The comparison with the New Zealand novel and film was made by Detective Neil Kitchen at the conclusion of 53-year-old Patrick Kohu's trial at the High Court in Nelson yesterday.

The jury took about six hours to convict Kohu on all 16 charges he faced, including that he regularly raped and assaulted his former partner, did indecent acts with intent to insult or offend her, and once forced her to perform an indecent act on his dog.

Justice Collins said the case was "the most disturbing [he had] ever heard" in his 30-year career as a prosecutor, defence lawyer and judge.

He thanked the jury and encouraged its members to accept the court's offer of psychological counselling.

"I wouldn't be surprised if that's necessary after hearing what you have had to hear over the past week."

Kohu will be sentenced on February 14.

The court heard that he regularly gave his partner violent "hidings". He once beat her around her legs with a hammer, and another time slammed her head into the wall of a house.

Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said Kohu was a "volatile man with a nasty temper", who over nearly 20 years had subjected his partner to "disgusting and inhuman" treatment.

Kohu was a Mongrel Mob affiliate and his abuse included forcing her to "bark like a dog" as he raped and degraded her, Mr Webber said.

The victim described living in a "pit of hell".

"If someone could do that to me, the world might as well just run me over," she said during her police interview.

"I tried to get out many times, but he'd just push me, and kick me, and push me back," she said.

The court heard that Kohu and the victim have three children together, all of whom have at times been in the care of Child, Youth and Family. Most of the charges were historical, dating back to when the family was in the North Island.

But Mr Webber said an incident in Stoke in March this year, during which the victim was beaten, raped and sexually humiliated after a heavy drinking session, was the "final straw" that motivated her to talk to police.

Detective Kitchen thanked the victim for having the strength and courage to come forward.

"This woman has endured almost 20 years of horrendous abuse. She reached a point where she realised she had to do something to survive.

"I hope other people in any similar situation will take encouragement from this woman's strength and stand up against their abusers," he said.

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Mr Webber told the jury that the victim stayed with Kohu despite the abuse because she loved him.

"Normal, logical, rational thinking didn't really apply," he said.

She was also fearful for her life, and her childrens', but "held onto hope, that things might get better," he said.

Defence lawyer Tony Bamford accepted that Kohu's relationship with the victim was violent and argumentative, but said his client denied the specific instances of assault.

Kohu denied ever sexually abusing the victim.

Mr Bamford called two witnesses from Nelson who said they had heard the victim gloating in the days after talking to police, laughing that she had "made up" that Kohu raped her and was "going to get him".

During cross-examination, Mr Webber suggested the two witnesses had Mongrel Mob affiliations like Kohu, and were simply lying to try to "protect a brother"

- The Nelson Mail

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