Rape file 'lost' for eight years

Police did not act on a complaint of rape by a woman against her brother for about eight years because the original file was either lost or misplaced.

The revelation was made in the Whangarei District Court this week by Detective Sergeant Jonathan Tier, giving evidence during the trial of the woman's 64-year-old brother who was facing one charge of rape.

The woman claimed she was raped in their family home in Northland 49 years ago when she was 13 and her brother 15.

Her brother was found not guilty by a jury after a two-hour deliberation.

Mr Tier, who's now based at the Dargaville Police Station, said the original file was created at Christchurch in December 2002 but it was eight years before any action was taken.

"The original file was never located except one statement she made in Christchurch in 2002," Mr Tier said.

As far as Mr Tier knew, the original file was lost or misplaced. Someone further up the chain in police would know when or why the file could not be found, he said.

The file was first assigned to him by Whangarei police in February 2011 and the accused was spoken to that November.

In evidence, the accused said 2011 was when he learned for the first time that his sister did not consent to the sex.

He had no sexual experience before asking her for sex although their mother had told him about how to make babies.

Crown solicitor Mike Smith asked if he didn't know it was wrong to do what he did.

When asked whether he knew he'd get into trouble with his parents if they found out what he did to his sister, the man said "quite possibly".

Mr Smith then said if the man knew he'd get into trouble for having sex with his younger sister, he surely would have known that it was wrong. The accused maintained he didn't know then that consensual sex between siblings was wrong.

Mr Smith said society had changed but people had not. Sex between siblings was as wrong in the 1960s or 1970s as it is now.

Addressing the jury, defence lawyer Wayne McKean said that although incest was a specific charge covering sexual relationships between family members, it was not what his client had been charged with.

It was unacceptable for police to sit on the case for almost a decade, he said. He urged the jurors to look at the case through the lens of teenagers as they were 59 years ago when he said information about sexual matters then was non existent.

- By Imran Ali of the Northern Advocate

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