Gang pair found guilty in rape trial

Two Mongrel Mob associates, one of whom was said to be a member of the "Notorious" chapter, have been found guilty of rape, indecent assault and unlawful sexual connection for the sexual assault of a woman in November 2010.

Gene Skipper and Adam Joseph Karetu, both from Hawke's Bay, were found guilty yesterday after a three-day trial in the Napier District Court. It took the jury 90 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict.

The court heard the incident started when a 21-year-old woman was drinking by herself in her car at Cornwall Park, Hastings. She was approached and befriended by Karetu, who sat drinking with her.

After a time he said he knew where they could get some cannabis and driving her car, picked up three men she didn't know. They were alleged to be Mongrel Mob members, one of whom was Skipper.

She was then taken to a riverside location where she was subjected to a sexual assault from the three men, two of whom remain unidentified.

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said they wore condoms because they were aware of the risk of leaving DNA evidence, but were not sufficiently "clued up" to know they could leave some from their saliva.

DNA later found on the victim's bra matched that of Skipper.

Skipper claimed it came from the morning after the sexual assault - which he said he had nothing to do with - when Karetu and the victim came to his house and they kissed, and he had kissed her on the breasts. She said that had never occurred.

Mr Manning told the jury the DNA evidence was "on its own enough to completely reject Mr Skipper's evidence", and Skipper had invented the story because he was "stuck between a rock and a hard place".

"What happened at the river is clear. Mr Skipper is responsible for those three sexual offences and Mr Karetu, his younger friend, was a party to that," he said in his closing address.

Karetu was found guilty despite not taking part in the sexual assault because he had been a party to it. He facilitated it by picking up the offenders and sat in the car while it occurred.

After the assault Skipper and the two other offenders were dropped off, but the victim spent the rest of the weekend drinking and taking drugs in Karetu's company.

Karetu was also found guilty of assault on a female and threatening to kill.

They were both remanded in custody for sentencing on October 12.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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