Director found guilty of indecency


He told the court he felt "responsible for her wellbeing" but yesterday Gisborne businessman Blair Bedingfield Purcell, 46, was found guilty of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
His conviction came just months after he was sentenced to 300 hours' community work for performing an indecent act on a young boy.
The verdict brought to an end a three-day trial in the Napier District Court, after the jury of seven women and five men deliberated for just under 2 1/2 hours before delivering their decision.
All details of the case, including Purcell's name, had previously been suppressed.
Earlier, Crown prosecutor Jonathan Krebs told the court the indecent assault had occured around Guy Fawkes night in 2000.
The 15-year-old complainant had attended a party at a Gisborne address with the Purcell family and became drunk after spending the evening drinking vodka with other girls.
She went to bed, waking to find Purcell lying alongside her, kissing her neck and shoulders, and placing his hand under her top.
She forced his hand away and left the room, spending the night in another room with her friends.
Purcell twice came into the room looking for the girl, once while naked and once with a towel or some other covering around his waist.
Defence counsel Paul Mabey QC had claimed the incident simply did not happen, adding there was no question of it being someone else or even an issue of consent, as the incident just did not happen. Family members of the complainant wept and hugged each other as the verdict was announced, in stark contrast to Purcell, who remained emotionless.
Judge Richard Watson remanded Purcell on bail to March 13, when his case was to be called again in the Napier District Court.

He was expected to be sentenced on March 14 or 15.
Details of Purcell's previous conviction had previously been suppressed.
Purcell was sentenced to 300 hours' community work and ordered to undertake counselling for "alcohol and paedophile tendencies" when he appeared in the Gisborne District Court on January 21, 2005.
He had earlier been found guilty of indecently assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a school camp where he was a parent helper. Purcell obtained a retrial in the Napier District Court in October last year, but was again found guilty. He received the same sentence - 300 hours community work.
The New Zealand Companies Office lists Purcell as being a director of three companies - Gisborne Financial Services, Gisborne Insurance Limited and Burnage Station Limited.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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