Sex charges against three Wanganui men which were laid after
a boozy party were heard again yesterday following a mistrial
in the Whanganui District Court last month.
Francis John Haami Potaka, 25, has pleaded not guilty to one
count of rape, three of indecent assault, one of unlawful
sexual connection and one of perverting the course of
Michael Ron Te Weri, 20, has pleaded not guilty to three
counts of indecent assault, one of sexual violation and one
of perverting the course of justice.
Jessie Akuhata Ngataierua Brider, 19, has pleaded not guilty
to one count of indecent assault.
The three men and the complainant, now 18, were a year
younger in January 2011, when the alleged incidents took
place at a birthday party in the city.
Judge David Cameron and the jury of five men and seven women
heard the complainant's evidence that she went to the party
with two friends. They had been drinking at one of the
friends' homes as they got ready to go to the party. On
arriving at the party, the "rule" was they had to have a
"shot from a test tube to enter".
The complainant also took to the party two 1.5 litre bottles
of her uncle's home brew spirits.
The Crown's evidence yesterday centred around incidents at
the party, and text messages the next day between the
complainant and Te Weri, Ngataierua Brider and Potaka.
The complainant is seated behind a screen and visible only to
the jury and lawyers.
At the party, it is alleged, Potaka kissed her uninvited
while she was dancing, and then later put his arm around her
and pulled her on to his lap, ripped a hole in her tights,
indecently assaulted her, then raped her while she sat on his
It is alleged that Brider grabbed her breast, which he
denies. His lawyer, Stephen Ross, said his client pushed the
complainant on the shoulder to see what was going on as she
sat on Potaka's knee.
Te Weri's lawyer, Mark Bullock, told the jury that there was
a time when you had to ask someone's father if you could take
out his daughter, but these days, when a lot of alcohol was
consumed, there was sexual contact between people and they
"participated in things they would not ordinarily participate
Potaka's lawyer, Roger Crowley, in his cross-examination of
the complainant yesterday questioned if there were adults at
the party who could have provided supervision, to which she
He told her that the two friends who accompanied her to the
party had told the police, in separate statements, that the
complainant had "drunk one of the 1.5 litres of home brew",
that she was "very intoxicated, loud and hyperactive" and
that "she could not control herself".
That same friend, Mr Crowley said, told the police that
"every time she drinks, she gets wasted". The complainant
replied: "That's not true."
The trial continues today and is expected to finish on
- Wanganui Chronicle