The wife of a Wanganui man accused of indecently assaulting
their teenage daughter has told a court she burnt his
"general confession", a document made during a spiritual
The 47-year-old man, who has interim name suppression, is on
trial in the Whanganui District Court charged with four
counts of performing an indecent act on a young person.
When he took the witness stand yesterday he denied all
charges and said he was "absolutely stunned" by his
daughter's allegations. He said his wife had been reluctant
to speak with police as "a lot of things that were said were
made up" and that "some things said were taken out of
Crown prosecutor Lance Rowe asked the man if he had gone to
confession after being confronted by the victim about the
incident, which he flatly denied. "Priests don't like to be
disturbed after 8.30pm unless it's important".
"But this is important," Mr Rowe said.
"No it wasn't as it didn't happen," the man said.
The accused's wife took the stand to testify in his defence
and she told defence counsel Debbie Goodlet that she had
never been approached by her daughter about such incidents
and had never discussed the allegations with her, other than
on two brief occasions.
In cross-examination, Mr Rowe asked the wife whether she was
in court to tell the truth or to help her husband, to which
she replied she had come to "tell the truth as I know it".
Mr Rowe asked whether, following the accused's arrest in
February 2012, police had taken the family's confession books
as evidence. The wife said not every member of the family
kept one. Asked whether her husband's book was taken, she
She was questioned for several minutes on the matter before
Mr Rowe produced a statement from a witness which said she
had burnt her husband's confession and that the police "would
love to get their hands on it". Asked if she had said that,
the wife replied: "I don't think so."
Mr Rowe then asked if she wanted time to think about it, and
she said it "might have been" her belief that the police
wanted the confession. She again denied burning it, but Mr
Rowe then read further from the witness statement which said
she had done so.
After further questioning, the wife said she was worried
police might find the confession and she admitted to burning
"But I read it first."
"Did you burn it to protect him?" the prosecutor asked.
"I suppose I did at that time," she replied.
Mr Rowe suggested that the burning of the confession was an
example of her wanting to protect her husband, which she
denied. She also denied she had sent her husband to
confession and said for her daughter to go as well.
Mr Rowe asked the wife if she told the daughter to go to
confession "because men are weak creatures and we have to
protect them". She said she had not.
He then referred to statements from two other witnesses and
asked the wife if she had said to them "it's all sorted now,
they have gone to confession".
"No, I don't think I would've had time to come up with an
answer like that," she said.
When asked if the two witnesses were also "making up" their
evidence, the wife replied: "I guess so."
She also said she and her husband had agreed to "let it lie"
despite agreeing the allegations were serious.
On Monday, the court heard the alleged victim, now 22, say
she had been groped by her father in her bedroom when she was
The trial continues today with the wife to be re-examined by
the defence counsel.
- By Zac Yates of the Wanganui Chronicle