Woman appeared terrified, police say

Last updated 14:51 21/02/2014

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The complainant in an alleged kidnapping collapsed at the feet of a police officer after he arrived at the scene, an Invercargill jury has been told.

The jury trial for Vinny Vinesh Kumar Ram, 51, started on Wednesday in the Invercargill District Court after he pleaded not guilty to unlawfully detaining a woman, assaulting her and assaulting her with intent to injure on July 16.

The Crown alleges Ram punched the woman, prevented her from leaving his house and grabbed her by the neck twice.

On Wednesday, the woman told the jury she thought she was a "goner", that Ram was going to kill her and that she begged him to let her go home but he refused.

Yesterday, constables Andrew Stephens and Jeremy Dix told the jury that when they arrived at Ram's house on July 16 he told them there had been a minor disagreement and a bit of pushing but nothing really happened.

Mr Dix said Ram, who he noticed had scratch marks on his face, told him the woman had scratched his face so he pushed her back onto a couch. When spoken to later at the police station, Ram denied punching the woman.

Mr Stephens told the court that when Ram left the room with Mr Dix the woman burst into tears and collapsed at his feet. She grabbed at his leg and said, "thank god you're here".

She appeared terrified, he said.

The woman told him Ram had punched and strangled her. She had bruising on her face, he said. At the station, the woman appeared to be in shock and terrified of Ram, he said.

On Wednesday, defence lawyer Hugo Young said the woman was not detained and Ram had no intention to detain her. She was instead consenting or chose to remain at the house.

The woman came at Ram with her hands and nails and any contact was either accidental or in self- defence. The other assault did not happen, he said.

At the closing of Crown evidence yesterday, Mr Young told the jury the defence position remained the same.

A defence witness told the jury Ram had called her and said the complainant was "causing trouble" and he did not know what to do.

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- The Southland Times

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