Man charged with sexual violation

A Dunedin man was twice accused of molesting young girls before he was charged, a court has heard.

Christopher John Ferguson (31) is on trial before the Dunedin District Court facing three charges of indecent assault, three of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and two of rape.

Crown prosecutor Craig Power opened the case yesterday telling the jury the first allegation came in 2010 when the defendant was accused of drunkenly groping a 13-year-old girl in her bedroom.

Similar but more extensive sexual allegations were levelled against Ferguson in 2013 by a different girl, unknown to the first complainant.

Both claims were investigated by police. They interviewed him before deciding not to lay charges, the jury heard.

It was only in 2015, when the second girl - now aged 13 - approached police again with more serious allegations that he was charged.

She said during a five-week period she had been living at her father's house, the defendant had raped her almost every time he visited.

``She told him it was wrong, it was uncomfortable and she was a child,'' Mr Power said.

Ferguson allegedly told her: ``I like touching you''.

The defendant explained his acts by saying it was ``for fun'', the teenager is expected to tell the court when she gives evidence, according to the Crown.

Mr Power said the girl was examined by doctors in 2013 and 2015.

On the first occasion nothing unusual was found, which did not necessarily rule out sexual assault, he said.

However, the second examination revealed evidence to support ``trauma'' to sensitive areas.

Defence counsel Anne Stevens said there were two different explanations for the two complainants.

The first said someone came into her bedroom in the night and pulled down her sheets to molest her.

In a video interview given at the time, she told police it was ``sore'' and ``scary'', causing her to scream and kick the man in the face.

Mrs Stevens said the sex attack may have happened but her client was not responsible.

``Her description of the person who did indecently assault her does not match [the defendant],'' she told the jury in her brief opening.

In relation to the younger complainant, Mrs Stevens said her client simply denied any criminal conduct.

``That's untrue. It didn't happen. She made it up,'' she said.

The alleged frequent rapes could not have taken place, Mrs Stevens said, because Ferguson did not stay at the house in 2015 during the dates put forward by the prosecution.

The first complainant - now an adult - gave evidence yesterday of an incident she said happened in May 2010.

The defendant and his brother visited the Dunedin house where she lived with her mother and the 31-year-old is accused of sneaking into the girl's bedroom after excusing himself to go to the toilet.

She said she could tell he was drunk because he fell over and ``I could smell ... the beer''.

After she lashed out and screamed, she said her mother rushed in and told the man to leave.

The girl said she watched him walk down the road from her bedroom window.

At the end of the police interview she asked: ``Is he going to jail?''

The trial before Judge Michael Crosbie and a jury of five men and seven women is scheduled to run until Thursday.

 - Rob Kidd




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