Harassment trial continues

Family photos of a Dunedin businessman were found on a computer belonging to a government employee accused of harassing him, a court has heard.

One of the pictures bore the name of the man, followed by the word ``fag'', while another file found in a laptop's recycle bin appeared to call the man a ``homo'', according to a police digital forensic analyst.

The Crown alleges the 39-year-old defendant spent two and a-half years subjecting the business owner to a diverse campaign of stalking.

The man, who has name suppression, is on trial at the Dunedin District Court charged with criminal harassment, threatening to cause grievous bodily harm and intentional damage.

Both the complainant and his sister also have have their identities suppressed.

In opening the case, Crown prosecutor Mitchell McClenaghan outlined a detailed time line, which he said portrayed the ongoing malicious attacks on the complainant.

The court heard how what began as a parking dispute, when the defendant was ticketed for blocking a rear entrance with his car, allegedly progressed into something more serious.

The complainant received various threatening text messages, others featuring disparaging comments about his genitalia and some questioning his sexuality following the original incident in June 2012.

His number was ``plastered'' around a gay meeting spot and a fake dating profile was made using his photo and contact details.

``I felt like a puppet on a string. They were calling the shots, directing what was going to happen to me,'' the man said.

Counsel Anne Stevens said his attempts to prove her client was the stalker by texting him from another phone showed he was not as fearful as he suggested.

``Put yourself in my shoes,'' he said.

``You close the curtains, you lock your house. I lived in extreme fear.''

Forensic analysis of the defendant's electronic devices, following a search of his home, revealed several photos of the complainant and his family.

``I'm not sure why [he] would have photos of me on his computer,'' he said. ``I do find that to be disturbing to be honest.''

Police digital forensic analyst Luke Robinson detailed the files of interest located, which also included two internet searches on October 8, 2012, on ``how to make paint grenades''.

Former senior constable Geoffrey Wyllie gave evidence he visited the complainant's work premises in September 2014 to find it had been hit with a blue paint bomb.

The man told him it had happened a year earlier, too.

He detailed his 10-month involvement in the case, which involved frequent contact with the complainant regarding the anonymous text messages.

Mr Wyllie also received several emails from the Dunedin City Council about instances of derogatory comments, featuring the man's name, being tagged around town.

On September 1, 2014, the ex-police officer said he came across two examples when he was walking near Lawyers Head.

``It was obvious the complainant was becoming more and more concerned about the nature of the harassment he was receiving,'' Mr Wyllie said.

The man became ``visibly upset'' when he received text messages while giving a statement at the police station, the court heard.

He was convinced the defendant was responsible for the attack because he had used a new cellphone to text the man's personal number in a bid to lure him out.

Only he and his wife knew of the ``trap phone'' and eventually he received a text from an anonymous source referring to the abuse.

The communication was not from his wife so he was sure it came from the defendant, Mr Wyllie said.

The prosecution case is due to finish tomorrow but the trial before Judge Paul Kellar, without a jury, is expected to run until the end of the week.

 -  Rob Kidd

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

 

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