Jury takes just 45 minutes to find teacher guilty of rape and indecent assault
A teacher has been found guilty of raping and indecently assaulting a child forty years ago.
A jury of six men and six women reached their verdicts in Napier District Court on Wednesday morning after just 45 minutes deliberating.
It followed a two-day trial of a man facing one representative charge of rape and two representative charges of indecent assault.
The offending occurred between 1973 and 1976 when the alleged victim, who was not a pupil of his, was aged between 12 and 15. The man was in his mid to late 20s.
The accused has been a secondary school teacher for more than 40 years. He was granted bail until a sentencing date in October.
He retains name suppression until then.
There was no hard evidence and the jury's verdict would be determined by who it believed most; the teacher in his 60s who has taught hundreds of pupils over the past 44 years, or the woman, a grandmother in her 50s who claimed he raped her when she was a child more than 40 years ago.
One of them had to be lying.
The jury heard from the alleged victim, her former long-time de facto partner, the alleged offender, and his wife of nearly 50 years.
The woman was once very close to his wife, and they would spend time at each other's houses.
The victim said she "idolised" the man and his wife.
"I would freeze, stiffen. I did not encourage him. I did not want this happening ... I felt like I was trapped.
"He was older than me ... He was looked up to ... I felt he was someone I could not resist, or that I had the age or life skills to turn away," she told the jury.
"He was an adult. I was a child. He would read situations. He would manipulate them to get me on his own."
She said the offending ended when the man's wife caught him indecently assaulting her.
The woman did not report the incidents until three years ago.
"I didn't want this to be real. I wanted to get on and have a normal life," she said.
"I've never been OK. There have been periods I've been able to put it aside, but in later years it started to just eat away at me again.
"I've never wanted to come to court. I've wanted [the man] to take ownership of what he's done to me, what he's done to my life. I've wanted him to put his hand up and say he's responsible."
The accused took the stand on Tuesday and rejected all the claims made by the woman on Monday. He said he had never groped or touched her as she claimed, and had certainly never raped her.
"The allegations are completely false ... The allegations are over 40 years old ... If that had happened, I would have remembered it.
"I have no recollection of it whatsoever."
His wife also told the jury that none of the woman's claims were true and, like her husband, it was "a bolt from the blue" when she first heard them in 2014.
"I can remember significant events in my life and that would be one I'd remember," she said of the allegation that she had discovered her husband interfering with the woman.
"I'm a Catholic. I've taken a vow to tell the truth."
In his closing address, Crown prosecutor Steve Manning told the jury someone was lying.
"There's no middle ground in this trial. There's black or white ... Someone's lying ...
"Good people do bad things, and regret them."
The teacher's lawyer, Roger Philip, said the claim was 43 years old and the woman had been unable to provide details such as dates, times, or the types of clothing she was wearing, and there were no witnesses.
"You are confronted with a 43-year-old claim. You are confronted with claims that are absolutely defended. They are denied completely. Those events did not take place," Philip said.