Girlfriend 'fell' down stairs, says accused


A man charged with abducting his girlfriend from a house in Hastings shortly before an assault, which cost her one of her eyes, says it was a planned departure from the house and she went willingly.

The claims came from 24-year-old Sio Muliipu late yesterday on the third day of a High Court trial in Napier where he has faced 10 charges stemming from the night of December 5, 2011, and two other episodes in the previous 15 days.

At the start on Monday, Muliipu pleaded not guilty to one charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, three charges of assault with intent to injure, two of assault with weapons (a cellphone and part of a vacuum cleaner), burglary in entering the house with intent to commit a crime, kidnapping the girlfriend, who was the mother of his infant twins, and unlawfully detaining her.

He admitted a charge of injuring her with intent to injure and, after the prosecution evidence finished yesterday, the jury was told by Justice David Collins that two charges of assault with intent to injure, relating to events said to have happened on November 20 last year, had been dismissed.

Muliipu is alleged to have dragged her by the hair down the stairs, away from the house and thrown her into a vehicle, and then left for another address where the eye injury was inflicted in a bedroom argument.

A charge of burglary against Muliipu's brother, 26-year-old Time Finai Muliipu, was also dismissed, but in the same trial he still faces a charge of kidnapping.

Crown prosecutor Jo Rielly said at the start of the trial, the brother was charged as a party to offences said to have been committed by Sio Muliipu, who, questioned by defence counsel Eric Forster, told the court they and a third person went to the address where Sio Muliipu's girlfriend was staying and waited outside for her.

He said that after speaking with another person from the address, he entered the house, with a bottle of beer from which he had been drinking and "yelled out my babe" to ask if it was "all good" to go upstairs.

He said it had been arranged that he would go to get her, but they started arguing, which he believed was because he was late and had been drinking. He also was "on the run" because of other incidents in the relationship.

Sio Muliipu said he tripped at the top of the stairs and both fell to the bottom. But he said he did not drag her by the hair.

A witness at the address earlier told the court she knew the young mother feared her children's father's violence and didn't want to go with him on that night.

"She didn't want to go with him, because he was a violent person," she said when cross-examined by Mr Forster. "I could tell she was scared."

The complainant had told the court she and Sio Muliipu went to a Raureka address where she was subjected to more violence, receiving the eye injury he claims was caused by objects he threw at her. She stayed in the room with him the night, and the police arrived and arrested Muliipu the following day.

Sio Muliipu will continue evidence today.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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