TV industry veteran guilty of indecent assault

An entertainment industry veteran has been found guilty of indecent assault after a high-profile trial.

After three days of deliberations, a jury returned to the Auckland District Court on Thursday with verdicts on three of the seven charges he was facing.

They were not able to reach verdicts on four other charges.

He was found guilty on two charges of indecent assault.

He was found not guilty on one charge of sexual violation.

The man, whose name remains suppressed, was facing seven charges of sexual violation and indecent assault relating to three women on separate occasions.

Each woman was an employee of the man and the alleged incidents happened at end-of-project celebration functions.

Judge Russell Collins discharged the jury on the counts they could not reach verdict on.
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He thanked them and discharged them.

The man may seek a discharge without conviction. If so he must file an application in early March.

At about 11.30am the jury were given a majority direction.

They had indicated to Judge Collins that they were struggling to reach unanimity on all charges.

Judge Collins enabled them to proceed to give a verdict with a majority.

He said their primary task was to "try and reach unanimity".

But on any given charge a majority verdict is permissible when allowed by a judge.

Less than an hour after that direction was given the jury returned to court with its decision.

As the verdicts were read the man, who cannot be identified, stood quietly.

He looked distressed but did not react openly.

His partner and her aunt, who have supported him in court every day of the trial, also remained quiet in the back of the court.

Judge Collins did not enter the convictions, preferring to do so on the date of sentencing.

The court heard that the man had one previous conviction for drink driving.

He will remain on bail but a previous condition stating he could travel internationally has been revoked.

He is now unable to leave New Zealand.

He will be sentenced on March 20 at 9am.

Judge Collins said if the charges where no verdict was reached were to be pursued in future by the Crown, an "extraordinary effort" would be needed to make sure the complainants were not put through further trauma by being brought back to court




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