I was helping accused cop, Nicholas tells jury

By Belinda McCammon

Louise Nicholas told a court today that any statements she made, denying telling former policeman John Dewar about alleged sexual assaults on her by three policemen, were made to help him.

Mrs Nicholas was being cross-examined over claimed inconsistencies in her statements to police and the media.

John Buchanan Dewar, 55, of Hamilton, denies four charges in the High Court at Hamilton of attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice between 1993 and 1995.

Judge Rodney Hansen was this morning forced to excuse a sick juror, reducing the jury to 11, in order to let the trial continue.

Defence lawyer Paul Mabey QC today questioned Mrs Nicholas about a statement she signed on June 20 1995, but did not write, for the Miller Inquiry, which was set up to investigate police conduct into the three trails of the policeman.

In the statement, which praises Dewar's handling of the investigation, Mrs Nicholas also denies she ever told Dewar about being sexually assaulted by Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum.

Dewar wrote the statement and typed it for Mrs Nicholas.

Mrs Nicholas said she only "skimmed" through the statement at the time and had been happy to sign it but when she read it years later, she realised parts were incorrect - specifically a paragraph which said she had never raised the allegations about Mr Rickards, Shipton and Schollum with Dewar.

Mr Mabey asked why Mrs Nicholas checked and signed statements when she was interviewed about the first rape trial but was prepared to sign an inaccurate statement, which she had barely read.

Mrs Nicholas said she held Dewar in the highest regard at the time.

"He asked me if I would sign this statement," she said.

"I was prepared to walk the ends of the earth for him. He had arrested the man that raped me, that was huge," she said.

"But this is the same man who would not pursue Rickards, Shipton and Schollum?" Mr Mabey said.

"You didn't ever tell Dewar that Rickards, Shipton and Schollum had raped you or did anything improper with you, did you?" he asked.

"I told him at the first day," she replied.

Mr Mabey said over the past several years she had been "courting and pursuing publicity at every opportunity".

Mrs Nicholas replied, no, she did not like the media spotlight but had gained a media profile in order to give a face to what would otherwise have been a "blob" to the public.

"I was prepared to put myself out there, Mr Mabey."

Mr Mabey read a quote from a December 1995 Listener article by Denis Welch which quoted Mrs Nicholas saying she could not speak more highly of Dewar.

The article quoted Mrs Nicholas saying "there was no way" Dewar could have known about the allegations against the three men because "I didn't go into any specifics about it because I would not tell him about it."

Mrs Nicholas denied she had made those statements and said she had never been interviewed by Mr Welch.

"I've used words to that effect but I've never spoken to a reporter who took them from me."

"Have you any idea why this man Mr Welch would have got what portrays a quote from you?" Mr Mabey asked.

"Well the article is about John Dewar, it's a guess but maybe John Dewar told him."

The cross-examination continues.

- NZPA

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