Man guilty of 14 sexual abuse counts

A Dunedin man accused of sexually abusing a girl for nearly four years has been found guilty of 14 charges and faces a long stint behind bars.

The verdicts included five counts of rape, two of which were representative charges, denoting the conduct happened on at least one occasion.

The 53-year-old, who has name suppression, was also found guilty of three charges of sexual conduct with a child and six of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

The defendant was acquitted of five charges after the jury returned verdicts at 9pm on Thursday night, following a gruelling nine hours of deliberation.

After three days of evidence, Crown prosecutor Craig Power told jurors during his closing address that they should believe the victim — now in her late teens.

"[She] was a good witness, a compelling witness, an honest witness," he said.

While it was accepted the man did not hold the girl down to commit the abuse, Mr Power said he exerted control over her.

"This is a man who manipulated her," he said.

"She said effectively she had to let him do it, she had no choice."

Defence counsel John Westgate said there were at least six people to whom the victim could have disclosed the allegations long before she did.

He told the jury it was one of the key reasons they should not believe her.

But for the most part, they disagreed.

Mr Power pointed to the girl’s evidence in his closing about why she did not come forward earlier.

"There are a lot of emotional, mental and psychological factors involved that you aren’t considering," the victim said during cross-examination.

"My brain wasn’t thinking about things being abusive or incorrect at that time because I was a child."

The court heard how some of the allegations came from trips away from Dunedin.

On one occasion, the victim said the defendant drove her to Auckland for a Taylor Swift concert, plied her with alcohol and he raped her in a hotel room.

But the jury found the man not guilty on allegations he had whisked her away to a hotel in Queenstown, gave her cannabis and committed similar acts.

According to the jury’s verdict the abuse ran from 2012 to mid-2015.A key witness for the Crown was a former workmate of the defendant who said the man had bragged about buying the young girl a sex toy.

He also told the jury he recalled his colleague describing the victim as "hot, or words to that effect".

With a lengthy sentence of imprisonment inevitable, after verdicts were passed, the defendant was remanded in custody by Judge Michael Crosbie.

He will be sentenced in March.A final decision on name suppression will be made at that hearing.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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