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A 47-year-old Hokitika man yesterday gave up his not guilty plea, instead admitting to seven counts of rape and three of indecently assaulting a young girl in his care.
The plea change avoided the prospect of another jury trial for the offences in the Greymouth District Court.
He was remanded in custody for sentencing on April 8.
The man, who has name suppression, began defending the charges before a jury on Monday, but Judge Alastair Garland abruptly abandoned the trial yesterday.
The reason for the abandonment became clear this morning when a Canterbury woman, Jacqueline Dale Hayes, appeared in court on a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Greymouth police had begun looking for Hayes after the trial was abandoned and she spent the night in custody after being arrested yesterday afternoon.
Hayes, 47, of Fernside in the Waimakariri district, was remanded on bail without plea until March 25. Conditions of bail ban her from entering the West Coast and forbid contact with any of the police witnesses in the rape trial and, in particular, any of the jury panel.
Judge Garland warned Hayes that police were still investigating her case and there would be "dire consequences" if they found that she had tried to contact witnesses.
"These are serious allegations. You need to be very careful that you don't disobey or breach any of these conditions or you will find yourself in custody," the judge said.
The Hokitika man's victim was aged between 12 and 17 when the offending occurred between 2007 and 2012. Most of the offending occurred in and around Hokitika, but also in Invercargill and Taupo.
He had initially claimed that the girl had made up the allegations to get back at him after they argued, but yesterday admitted guilt while on arraignment for a second trial.
- Greymouth Star