Police sex trial jury retires for night

By Patrick Gower

The jury in the trial of suspended assistant police commissioner Clint Rickards and two former officers on historic kidnap and sex charges have retired for the night.

The eight men and four women will resume their deliberations at 9am tomorrow.

Suspended Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards, 46, and former policemen Brad Shipton, 49, and Bob Schollum, 54, deny charges of indecent assault and kidnapping a 16-year-old girl in Rotorua between November 1983 and August 1984. The woman - who has name suppression - says they handcuffed her and sexually violated her with a whisky bottle.

The jurors started their deliberations at 2.30pm, broke for dinner at about 6pm, and retired for the night at 9.30pm.

Summing up the case for them in the High Court at Auckland, the judge told the jury to put aside any views they may have about last year's Louise Nicholas case as they decide the three men's fate.

The same men were last year acquitted of 20 charges including the rape and sexual violation of Mrs Nicholas when she was a teenager in Rotorua in the 1980s.

Today, Justice Potter reiterated her warning from the start of the trial last week that the jurors should ignore anything about that case, which had attracted a lot of publicity.

"Ignore anything you might have heard from outside the court from any source," she said.

Justice Potter said that the accused should be tried "solely on the basis of the evidence".

Earlier, the lawyer for Bob Schollum distanced his client from the evidence of the wife of co-accused Brad Shipton, after she was painted in court as a liar.

Paul Mabey QC, in closing submissions for Schollum, told the jury to put the evidence of Sharon Shipton to one side.

Mr Mabey said: "And if she has (lied) it doesn't prove they are guilty."

Mrs Shipton broke down in the witness box yesterday after the alibi she gave her husband was contradicted.

"She is not my witness, she is not Mr Schollum's witness," Mr Mabey said. "I asked her no questions."

"If she came here and lied she is a very, very silly lady. Maybe she did it out of desperation to help her husband, I don't know."

Mr Mabey also said that while it was not denied that Shipton had a sexual relationship with the alleged 16-year-old victim, and Schollum was his friend and knew the girl, this did not prove the offence happened.

- additional reporting: NZPA

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