Cop accused of doctoring story

A police officer is accused of "tailoring' his evidence in a bid to beat charges of indecently assaulting young girls.

In a highly emotional day at Napier District Court yesterday, police officer Adam Dunnett spent 258 minutes on the witness stand and will now wait three weeks for a verdict.

Yesterday was day four of the 37-year-old's trial, where he denies nine counts of indecent assault against five teenage girls, after one charge was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

In total, the Crown alleged five different incidents occurred, four at the Ocean Beach Surf Club and one at the Taradale Fire Station between May 2011 and New Year's Day 2013.

Crown prosecutor Gavin Thornton carried out a methodical cross-examination of an often sobbing Dunnett, which lasted most of the afternoon. He accused Dunnett of "tailoring" his evidence to "best suit [his] interests" and failing to "acknowledge responsibility in the offences".

Mr Thornton said because Dunnett had been an officer for 10 years, had a familiarity with the court system and full disclosure of the Crown's evidence, he doctored his story for his own benefit. "You've had over a year to think about these charges haven't you?" Mr Thornton said.

"I've had a year to think of nothing but the charges that I am facing," Dunnett said.

"Are you sure you actually remember what happened or what you would like the court to remember?" Mr Thornton said.

Dunnett said he had not lied in his testimony because it would only "worsen" his situation.

Earlier in the day, the police officer conceded he twice touched a "playful and flirty" teenager's breast but was convinced it was "consensual" at a surf club party in 2011.

Mr Thornton questioned Dunnett's recollection of the events and said: "How can you remember more detail from one event and not another?

"I would suggest it's pretty memorable when you had 'the come on' from a 16-year-old girl and ended up in bed with her."

The Crown also questioned Dunnett's moral judgment for drinking with teenage girls at the surf club and claimed he should have known where the "mark' was.

"I would go out there to have fun," Dunnett said.

"And that includes having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old does it?" Mr Thornton replied.

Dunnett said during one episode at the club, on Christmas Eve 2011, his "moral compass was broken due to intoxication".

Mr Thornton asked him if he "really believed a 16-year-old would want to be sexually intimate with a man old enough to be her father?"

"I'm sure somewhere in this world a 16-year-old is having a sexual relationship with a 37-year-old man," Dunnett replied.

"Would I do it again, no. But what's the mark, where is the mark?"

"I suggest you consult your moral compass," Mr Thornton said.

The Crown also said Dunnett's evidence detailing "extreme behaviour" of one of the complainants was "essentially unbelievable".

During his evidence, Dunnett said the complainant in a September 2011 incident at Ocean Beach was highly provocative and propositioned him several times.

He said the complainant had performed numerous grotesque and sexually suggestive positions in front of him, but he never indecently touched her despite Crown witnesses testifying to the contrary.

"It sounds unbelievable, I know. But it's true," Dunnett said.

Mr Thornton questioned why he had not asked a particular woman at the September party to testify in his defence.

"She's no longer my friend," the 37-year-old said.

When giving his evidence, Dunnett shook in the witness box and broke down in tears several times.

Judge Les Atkins QC said he intended to reserve his decision on the verdict for two to three weeks after hearing final submissions from the Crown and defence at 11am today 

- By Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today 

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