Woman accused of sexual assault

By Imran Ali

A female service user at a Northland women's refuge sexually assaulted another after a drinking session, a jury has heard.

The accused, who cannot be named as that could identify the complainant, is defending three charges in the Whangarei District Court of unlawful sexual connection with a female over 16.

Kerikeri lawyer Grant Anson, who is representing the Crown, told the jury of seven women and five men yesterday that on a day in February 2011, the accused and the complainant were drinking at a nearby park when new residents arrived at the refuge.

The complainant tried on a dress before retiring to her room, where she was surprised to find the accused partially behind a curtain at the window.

Mr Anson said the accused went too far while giving the complainant a good night kiss by being all over her and engaging in sexual activities in rapid succession.

At one stage, she tried to push her away from areas of her body she didn't want her to go near. The accused later patted the complainant's head and said sorry.

Mr Anson said the accused initially denied any sexual activity took place between the two women and that nothing beyond a friendly kiss transpired.

But she later admitted her offending, saying that was what the complainant wanted.

Mr Anson said police were at the refuge about 7am the next day to conduct their investigation.

Earlier, Judge Duncan Harvey advised the jury to decide on the case solely on evidence before the court and for jurors not to make enquiries of their own about the case. He told the jury to not only concentrate on what witnesses say but how they say it, as body language was critical in deciding on the case.

The jury must not discuss the case with anyone other than fellow jurors and in the jury room only, Judge Harvey said.

The trial is set down for three days.


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