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An Indian man in an arranged marriage has been found guilty of using his wife as a sex slave, during which he raped, beat and threatened to kill her.
A jury in the Napier District Court today found the Hastings man guilty of multiple counts of rape, assault and threatening to kill for a series of domestic incidents.
The man cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim, who was his wife in an arranged Sikh marriage.
The jury spent more than four hours deliberating yesterday and this morning, before returning guilty verdicts on eight charges and a not guilty verdict on one charge. It was hung on another eight charges.
Essentially, he was found guilty of offending on December 3, December 25 and 26 in 2012, but the jury could not reach a verdict on representative charges, where there were alleged to have been numerous offences committed over a long period of time.
During the trial, the prosecution described how a 45cm long knife was kept under the marital bed which the man used to scare his wife into sleeping with him.
It was when police attended a domestic incident at the couple's home on Boxing Day, 2012 that the allegations were first made.
Officers discovered a "terrified, frightened woman'' hiding behind a car on the driveway while her drunk husband was inside watching television. She had bruised arms, which a doctor said was consistent with being grabbed.
"Culturally, we have heard that in the Sikh culture, for which an arranged marriage has occurred, leaving your husband is a big deal and not done lightly,'' Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said.
"Leaving your husband when you are in a foreign country where you have no friends or family support must be even harder.
"This happened behind the bedroom door. There were no other people in that bedroom, except her and the defendant.''
A video was shown of the defendant being interviewed by Hastings Detective Robin Parker on January 15, 2013.
Mr Parker asked questions regarding how the couple's marriage first came to be and how it worked.
In broken English via an interpreter, the man said if the woman had not wanted to marry him, the arranged marriage would not have gone ahead.
When the specific allegations of sexual offending from their time living together in New Zealand were put to him, he denied anything had occurred without consent, and denied causing the bruising.
Defence lawyer Russell Fairbrother, QC, had questioned what had attracted the woman to the defendant: "What is the attraction, except to move to a country like New Zealand to gain residency?
"He is a New Zealand citizen and she gains residency, and within days these various things blew up,'' he told the court.
The offender was remanded in custody by Judge Tony Adeane for sentencing on April 10.
- By Corey Charlton of Hawke's Bay Today