The trial of a 58-year-old Dunedin man accused of sexual
violation has ended in a mistrial, the dismissal of one
charge and the amendment of another.
The man, whose name remains suppressed, had denied three
charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection
from offences allegedly committed in Dunedin and Timaru
between 20 and 24 years ago.
During the first day of the hearing before Judge Michael
Crosbie and a jury in the Dunedin District Court on Tuesday,
the complainant was warned several times to restrict her
evidence to what she could remember seeing and happening to
her, not what others might have said.
At the start of yesterday's hearing, the jurors asked the
judge whether the accused had prior criminal convictions and
were told he had none.
The complainant then continued her evidence under
cross-examination by defence counsel Anne Stevens but made
further comments about matters not directly related to her
and was again warned.
Following in-chambers discussions with Mrs Stevens and Crown
counsel Robin Bates, Judge Crosbie declared a mistrial.
He told the jurors the trial process was about fairness. The
accused was entitled to the presumption of innocence until
charges against him had been found proved on the basis of
The complainant had been warned about restricting her
evidence to matters directly relating to her. But, despite
those warnings, she had continued to make what could only be
called gratuitous comments'', the judge said.
It was apparent from their question, there was a real risk,
one, or some, or all of them, could have been influenced by
what the complainant said, Judge Crosbie told the jurors. So
he had decided to declare a mistrial.
There might be a retrial at some stage, but it would be clear
to them it would be on a different basis as one charge had
gone and another had been amended from sexual violation to
And while it might be disappointing for them that they could
not complete the trial process, Judge Crosbie said that, "as
the gatekeeper of fairness'', he made no apologies because he
had to ensure the person on trial received a fair trial.
The man was remanded on bail to next month for further
consideration of his case. The order for name suppression was